Garam Masala 101: Where to Buy It And How to Use It

Garam Masala 101: Where to Buy It And How to Use It

Garam Masala is the combination of two words, garam (“hot”) and masala (“a mixture of spices”), which defines exactly what garam masala is – a combination of different spices from South Asia, common to countries such as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.

Its composition may differ regionally, but the standard Indian version contains the following:

  • Bay Leaves
  • Fennel
  • Black and White Peppercorns
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon or Cassia Bark
  • Mace
  • Black and Green Cardamon Pods
  • Cumin
  • Coriander Seeds
  • And Red Chili Powder

In some recipes, the spices are blended with herbs, while in others, they’re grounded with water, vinegar, or other liquids. Other recipes also include ingredients such as nuts, onions, or garlic. Garam Masala doesn’t taste the same everywhere, which is obvious, given that the recipe varies from region to region.

Are you struggling to find garam masala in grocery stores and need some help? In this article, we’re going to help you find this ingredient online and in-stores. Additionally, we will also give you a few tips on how to use it.

Where to Find Garam Masala in Grocery Stores?

garam masala

If you find yourself in a grocery store, then your best bet to find garam masala is in the international aisle, more specifically in the section where the South Asian products are shelved.

You’ll be able to find garam masala next to other spices or condiments such as curry, cumin, or cardamon.

If you can’t find garam masala in the international aisle, the next stop is the spice/condiment and canned goods aisle, where you’re able to find products such as black pepper, curry, sriracha sauce, ketchup, and so on.

What Stores Have Garam Masala Available?

  • Amazon – Amazon is the best online store in the world where you can find a wide variety of garam masala brands, including Rani.
  • Walmart – Walmart also sells a wide variety of garam masala brands, including Rani and Marshalls Creek.
  • Whole Foods – Look for garam masala in Whole Foods’ spice aisle, next to ones like curcumin, curry, cardamom, and other Asian-themed spices.
  • Safeway – Safeway is another place to buy garam masala online and in-store.
  • Kroger – Check the spice, condiment, or international aisle at Kroger.
  • Publix – Publix is another grocery store where you can find garam masala in the spice aisle, shelved with other South Asian spices.
  • Asian Markets – Since garam masala is a spice (or mixture of spices) believed to have originated in Northern India, you’re bound to find it in small Indian grocery stores, or Asian markets.

2 Unique Recipes Using Garam Masala

Garam Masala goes in a bunch of Indian recipes, and in this section, we’re going to share with you three delicious recipes that use garam masala.

Here are the three recipes:

Easy Chana Masala (Vegan)

This recipe was inspired by a meal the author stumbled upon in Oslo, Norway, out of all places. It’s not the place you would expect (yep, India), but it was in an Indian restaurant in cold, and windy Oslo.

Ingredients: 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or sub coconut oil), 1 medium white or yellow onion (finely diced), 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 3/4 tsp sea salt, 6 cloves garlic (minced), 2 Tbsp fresh ginger (minced), 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped), 2-3 fresh green chilies (sliced with seeds), 1 Tbsp ground coriander, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 28-ounce can puree or finely diced tomatoes, 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (slightly drained), 1 tsp garam masala, 2-3 tsp coconut sugar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

Once you have the ingredients above, all you have to do is follow the video below, where each step is detailed out to help you formulate the recipe.

Chickpea Tikka Masala (Vegan)

Tikka Masala is a dish that is made using chicken… but for principles’ sake, we have found a vegan version of this dish using chickpeas, which is super delicious.

Ingredients: 2 tbsp coconut oil, 1/2 red onion (diced), 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, 3 cloves garlic (minced), sea salt, and ground black pepper, 1 tbsp garam masala, 1 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste, 28 ounces jarred or canned or fresh tomato sauce, 2 16 ounces/454g cans of chickpeas total of 32 ounces (drained), 1 cup thick creamy coconut milk, 2 tsp coconut sugar (optional), juice of 1 lime.

Follow the recipe in the video below or check the website Jessica in the Kitchen for instructions.

Make Garam Masala at Home

We have learned that garam masala is essentially a spice made from different spices and herbs, which means you can make it at home, as long as you’re willing to get the ingredients. What’s more, garam masala is actually quite expensive. A three-ounce container costs about $8 (though, it may vary from place to place).

To make it at home, you need the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds (4 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Once you have the ingredients, you just need to add all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until they’re ground into a powder-like consistency. Then, you just need to seal it in a container and store it at room temperature, which means you’ll have garam masala that will last you for a long time.

Click here to see the original recipe.


This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through these links. See my full disclosure here.

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Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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