Garam masala, unlike sambar powder, is something I use extensively in a lot of non-vegetarian dishes – tandoori chicken, kheema (mince), chicken curries, lamb curries, etc. You can also use it with vegetarian dishes like channa masala, biryani, etc.

I grew up with the smells and aromas of fresh spices just brought in from the mill. I didn’t appreciate it then, but I definitely do now.

I forgot about how heavenly freshly made masalas smell. I have bought and used store bought masalas for years. Until I began making my own. I then realised how vastly they differ.

Make your own spice mix and have a store bought pack next to each other. Smell each of them, with a bit of a break in between. Nothing will beat your freshly made spices. The smell tells you that it is strong, fresh and potent.

The taste that home-made spices impart in dishes is amazing as well!

Besides the smell and the taste, the nutrients that these spices contain are released once they are ground. Which is why keeping them in an airtight glass jar is very important. Also, using them within a few months is also recommended.

Keep your spices away from light and heat and they will stay fresh. Make sure you don’t keep your spices for more than six months. If it doesn’t have a lovely, strong aroma, then it isn’t going to lend any taste to your dishes – so ditch it.

Also, remember that spices are fat soluble and will bloom (release their nutrients) when they are fried in oil. So lightly fry the garam masala in oil before adding the meat / veggies.

I add a teaspoon or two for a whole dish if I don’t want it too spicy, yet want the taste of the spices. Add a teaspoon per person in a dish if you can handle the heat!

Here are some amazing nutrient facts about some of the spices in this garam masala recipe.

Cloves – A wonderful anti-bacterial, anti microbial, antifungal, antiviral, anti inflammatory and anti cancer spice.

I use it in the oil form for colds and coughs as part of my thieves blend. This helps boost the immune system and aids recovery. You could add a drop to a pot of boiling water and do a steam inhalation, or diffuse it in your bedroom or home. You can use it to mop your home or clean surfaces. The uses are endless.

Clove oil can help with candida, anal fissures, toothache and head lice.

It can be used as a topical anesthetic that numbs pain. Try chewing a clove…it will numb your mouth. Which is why I grew up using it as for toothaches.

Clove is has an amazing number of uses and benefits. It has anti-diabetic properties, can help protect against cardiac damage, it is a natural insecticide, helps with joint inflammation and so, so much more.

It possesses a whopping amount of antioxidants – 30 times more than blueberries! Superfood indeed.

Star anise – Another super spice, star anise is full of antioxidants, is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti viral.

This spice, as an essential oil, has many benefits, even for chickens!

Adding this oil to feed has proven to improve egg mass and weight. It also increases the nutrient density of the eggs. Who knew!

Its uses include improving food safety as it can delay food spoilage.

You can find Vitamin C in this spice. It strengthens your immune system.

Bay leaves – From killing cancer cells, to having analgesic effects similar to morphine, to having antiviral properties to help against SARS-CoV and HSV-1 replication, bay leaves are an amazing leaf to keep on hand.

Anti-cancer, anti fungal (it can help fight candida), antioxidant, helps with neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) – these are what the bay leaf can help with.

So…what are you waiting for? Make up some immune boosting, cancer killing garam masala.

Quick and easy garam masala

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time7 mins
Course: condiments, curry powder
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dairy free, easy, gluten free, quick
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorn
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • ¼ star anise
  • 8 small bay leaves

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together in a spice grinder and whizz till slightly smooth
  • Keep in an airtight jar and store it either in the fridge or in a cool, dark place for upto 3 months

REFERENCES

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Rao AR, Hashim S. Chemopreventive action of oriental food-seasoning spices mixture Garam masala on DMBA-induced transplacental and translactational carcinogenesis in mice. Nutr Cancer. 1995;23(1):91‐101. doi:10.1080/01635589509514365

Elwakeel HA, Moneim HA, Farid M, Gohar AA. Clove oil cream: a new effective treatment for chronic anal fissure. Colorectal Dis. 2007;9(6):549-552. doi:10.1111/j.1463-1318.2006.01185.x

Choi HY, Yang YC, Lee SH, Clark JM, Ahn YJ. Efficacy of spray formulations containing binary mixtures of clove and eucalyptus oils against susceptible and pyrethroid/ malathion-resistant head lice (Anoplura: Pediculidae). J Med Entomol. 2010;47(3):387-391. doi:10.1603/me09119

Alqareer A, Alyahya A, Andersson L. The effect of clove and benzocaine versus placebo as topical anesthetics. J Dent. 2006;34(10):747-750. doi:10.1016/j.jdent.2006.01.009

Abdulrazak A, Tanko Y, Mohammed A, Mohammed KA, Sada NM, Dikko AA. Effects of Clove and Fermented Ginger on Blood Glucose, Leptin, Insulin and Insulin Receptor Levels in High Fat DietInduced Type 2 Diabetic Rabbits. Niger J Physiol Sci. 2018;33(1):89-93. Published 2018 Jun 30

Bafna PA, Balaraman R. Antioxidant activity of DHC-1, an herbal formulation, in experimentally-induced cardiac and renal damage. Phytother Res. 2005;19(3):216-221. doi:10.1002/ptr.1659

Yu C, Wei J, Yang C, Yang Z, Yang W, Jiang S. Effects of star anise (Illicium verum Hook.f.) essential oil on laying performance and antioxidant status of laying hens. Poult Sci. 2018;97(11):3957-3966. doi:10.3382/ps/pey263

Rahman MR, Lou Z, Zhang J, et al. Star Anise (Illicium verum Hook. f.) as Quorum Sensing and Biofilm Formation Inhibitor on Foodborne Bacteria: Study in Milk. J Food Prot. 2017;80(4):645-653. doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-294

Panza E, Tersigni M, Iorizzi M, et al. Lauroside B, a megastigmane glycoside from Laurus nobilis (bay laurel) leaves, induces apoptosis in human melanoma cell lines by inhibiting NF-κB activation. J Nat Prod. 2011;74(2):228-233. doi:10.1021/np100688g

Sayyah M, Saroukhani G, Peirovi A, Kamalinejad M. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of the leaf essential oil of Laurus nobilis Linn. Phytother Res. 2003;17(7):733-736. doi:10.1002/ptr.1197

Loizzo MR, Saab AM, Tundis R, et al. Phytochemical analysis and in vitro antiviral activities of the essential oils of seven Lebanon species. Chem Biodivers. 2008;5(3):461-470. doi:10.1002/cbdv.200890045

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