I've always bought Garam Masala, sometimes from an Indian grocer but more often than not from the supermarket, which I have now learnt is not a patch on making your own.
Googling for recipes I've learnt that everyone, and I mean everyone makes theirs differently. I think it depends on what you prefer, spice wise. Some add cinnamon or turmeric, I preferred to leave these out - cumin, coriander and cardamom are the flavours I really wanted to stand out in my masala.
Ideally you need a grinder, I have an attachment for my blender which grinds spices. Some also use a coffee grinder, but do bear in mind if you use it for spices it isn't wise to use it again for coffee - it will have to be your spice grinder from then on. If you have neither then a pestle & mortar will work, but will obviously take longer.
It's very simple, just add all your spices to the grinder and give it a whizz until it is a fine powder. Decant into an airtight jar - jam jar or kilner jar is perfect, and store in a cool, dark place.
My garam masala has a little twist - local chilli purveyor, Ben of Capiscana Chilli Co. recently tweeted that he'd made his own mix using one of his dried Mexican chillies; I was very intrigued and with Ben's gift of a parcel of Ancho Poblano and Pasilla Chillies I decided to make my own masala. I used about 1 inch piece of each dried chilli (seeds included) and whizzed it up with the other spices.
Makes about 70g of masala.
Easily doubled/tripled, but don't make too much, fresh masala is better masala.
2 teaspoons of coriander seed
2 teaspoons of cumin seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
6 cardamom pods - use the black seeds inside only
1 inch piece of poblano chilli, chopped
1 inch piece of pasilla chilli, chopped
The addition of the Mexican dried chillies gave a great kick to the masala as well as a nice fruitiness and smokiness. I've already added some of it to recipes I'm cooking for my Indian Afternoon Tea and it is 100 x better than any garam masala I've bought before.
Try it out, it's easy!
Thank you Ben for sending me the chillies!