Get Warm with Garam Masala

garam masala

I was a latecomer to Garam Masala. For some reason, I thought it didn’t have a place in my kitchen or in my repertoire of recipes. I was dead wrong.

What is Garam Masala?

While there is no one set recipe for this blend of spices, some common ingredients are peppercorn, clove, cinnamon, mace, cardamom, bay leaf, cumin, and coriander. The ingredients also vary by location, as it is a well-loved blend in India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries.

Its name means a hot (garam) blend of spices (masala). In the Ayurvedic healing tradition, these spices are all used for heating the body. Perfect for those who feel cold often, and during colder weather. Its flavor is warm without being hot.

How to Use Garam Masala

Since it is a blend of ground spices, you can use garam masala in a number of different ways: as a rub, sprinkled over foods, stirred into soups and sauces, and in a marinade. It pairs well with chicken, beef, pork, and veggies.

A family favorite in our house is Chicken Tikka Masala. While I make no claims as to the authenticity of this recipe, it is most certainly delicious. And it smells incredible as it slowly cooks.


  • 1 – 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 T garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt (I love to used smoked salt)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ c cream
  • fresh cilantro
  • basmati rice or naan bread


In the bottom of a slow cooker, layer the onions then chicken pieces. Stir together the fresh and dried spices with the tomatoes and tomato paste, and pour over the chicken and onions.

Cook on low 4 – 6 hours.

Add in the cream and heat through. Top with chopped cilantro, and serve with hot rice or warm naan bread.

For something sweeter, try these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Garam Masala from Blue Kitchen.


  • 1 ½ c regular or quick-cooking oats
  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ c packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c golden raisins


Heat oven to 350ºF. Combine oats, flour, garam masala, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until thoroughly mixed and creamy.

Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in raisins.

Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop rounded balls of dough onto greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Please don’t be like me and assume you don’t like Garam Masala. Let these recipes help you fall in love with her, and may you have a long and happy life together.

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