To make a simple garam masala spice mix, combine 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons peppercorn, 1 tablespoon cumin seed, 1 teaspoon each of cardamom and fennel seed, and 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves in a saucepan. Toast them until they turn a shade darker to enhance the flavors. Grind these ingredients in a spice grinder, and add 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon along with four dried bay leaves, crushed.
After combining all ingredients, store the garam masala mix in an airtight jar for up to six months. This BBC Good Food recipe, which was featured in Good Food magazine, makes one small jar of the aromatic spice mix. Used extensively in Indian cooking, garam masala adds warmth to a variety of dishes. Ingredients vary based on region and the cook's preferences. Some recipes may include saffron, fenugreek, star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg. Others may include turmeric, mustard seeds, garlic or ginger.
While cooks in Northern India normally use the spice mix in its powdered form, South Indian inhabitants often make it into a paste using vinegar, water or coconut milk. Most cooks add the spice near the end of cooking. Other names for the spice mix include gorum moshla and masala.