Bengali Garam Masala

Garam masala is an aromatic blend of spices, which is commonly used in the South-Asian cuisine. In India, the ingredients of Garam masala differ according to different regions.  There are two forms of garam masalas in the Indian cuisine. Firstly the whole garam masala, which is mostly use in tempering and secondly, ground garam masala which use in seasoning.

There are three types of Garam masala used in Bengali cooking. First type is whole spices and use in tempering. Second type is regular garam masala powder which use in everyday dishes. Third type is Shahi garam masala which is mostly added in party dishes to make them more aromatic.

Ingredients for the whole Bengai Garam Masala:

  • Green cardamoms
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Bay leaves

Note: Personally most of the time, I don’t add cloves while tempering my regular curries, because I feel the flavor of clove is very strong for regular curries/dishes.

Ingredients for the regular Bengali Garam Masala:

  • Green cardamoms: 10 -15 pods
  • Cloves: 6-8
  • Cinnamon sticks: 2 big ones

 Ingredients for the Shahi Garam Masala:

  • 2-3 small bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp shahi jeera (white cumin)
  • 1 flake mace
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 10 -15 green cardamom pods
  • 6-7 cloves
  • 1/2 nutmeg
  • 1 big black cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 5-6 whole black peppers
  1. Heat a nonstick frying pan over a medium flame and add all whole spices into the pan in a single layer. Stir with a ladle for a few seconds to warm  them up, this process will help to get the flavor going if you are using old stock of whole spices.
  2. If you are using freshly packed whole spices, you don’t need to follow the above given process.
  3.  In a coffee grinder or blender add all ingredients together and grind them to get a fine powder.
  4. Pour into an airtight container.

Recipe by: Shyamali Sinha