What Is in Garam Masala?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: The recipe for your slow-cooker chicken tikka masala sounds interesting, and I would like to try it, but there’s one ingredient I’m unfamiliar with: garam masala. What’s in this spice blend?

Sent by Steph

Editor: Garam masala, which just means warm spice blend, is one of the more popular spice blends you’ll find in Indian cooking. Most often it’s comprised of black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and nutmeg. You might even have all those spice on hand, so making your own blend of garam masala is an option as well. (Use this recipe as a starting point if you go that direction.)

As the name indicates, this spice blend gives dishes a base of deep, warm flavor, oftentimes reminiscent of the smells and flavors we associate with fall. In chicken tikka masala, they work to balance the acidity of the tomatoes and richness of the cream.

Learn More About Garam Masala: Not the Usual Holiday Spice — Garam Masala