Garam masala, pronounced gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah, is a mix of ground, typically dry-roasted spices native to India. Garam is actually Indian for “warm” or “hot,” which is perfect since garam masala is known for creating a warmth both internally and externally. What is masala? Masala is Hindi for “spice.” It’s used to describe any of the various spice mixes used in Indian cuisine. In addition to India, this warm spice mix is also commonly used in Pakistan and other South Asian cuisines.
Not all garam masala recipes are created equal. There are a plethora of variations often depending upon the Indian region or village of origin, the family recipe passed down through generations, or the whim of the individual creator. Max numbers vary, but the spice blend has been said to sometimes contain more than 30 ingredients.