Punjabi And Kashmiri Garam Masala.


kgm2Some years ago while working for an Indian company I had to move to Bloomington, IL, for an assignment at an American establishment.  Bloomington, which is about a 100 miles from Chicago, was then a small humdrum city (town?) and had absolutely nothing ever happening there. People who know me are well aware that it doesn’t take much to please me. I’m not the outdoorsy, or the carousing kind. Nor do I need that constant stimulation around me to keep me alive. So, if I have to say a place was dull and boring, trust me people, you would want to move there only if you are seeking isolation or running away from the law.

So on day one, as I stepped into this town from its tiny winy Airport, the bitter arctic air bit right into my marrows, so hard, that I immediately began hating this place with every fiber of my being. Though it was fairly early in the evening as I drove to the hotel from the airport, the only visible sign of habitation were a handful of cars that drove past me.  All around me were deserted streets, snow sprawling her icy limbs as far as my eyes could see and my sinking heart hit rock bottom. The fat fact that I was still recovering from a recent heartbreak goaded the situation further. My balance was clearly upset and I pictured myself growing old and miserable in this small town, all by myself, with frost bitten hand and limbs, microwaving cold single dinners while picking at my cold sores.

Days passed and I began settling down. Though I had a caring family and strong circle of friends who called me every single day to check on me and keep me going, I continued to wallow in self pity and persisted at loathing every minute of my existence in that little town. Then, unnoticed by me, two little (in size only) packages of delight walked right into my life. A1, my high spirited little Kashmiri roommate and A2, my little Punjabi colleague  who sat right behind me at work. We all worked for the same employer and though we were acquainted with each other from early on, it was our stay in this cold secluded place that sparked a connection which, to this day I remember with great fondness.

We were much younger then, each at different stages of committed relationships. A1, was engaged to be married, an arranged one, and obviously was chary of the risks involved. A2 was picking up lost ties with his childhood sweetheart after several years of break up, and was now contemplating marriage with her again. And me like I said earlier, was grieving  from a recent break up, sworn off all men and was determined to die an old maid. This unusual combination of wary, hope and distress between the three of us, brought about a new perspective in our individual lives. Each one of us saw through the other ones eyes, and in a strange way received reassurance. Together we explored the quaint little town, which turned out not that bad after all. In each others company we cooked during the winter,  traveled during summer, partied during the weekends,  survived a car crash, spoke through the nights, slept through the days  and most important of all spent long hours of familiar silence in each others comforting presence. After a year in that place, the three of us moved out. I moved to sunny California to marry my soulmate, R, who, but for my friends, I don’t think I would have found. The little As too soon married and are settled now with more little As of their own. And I somehow know for certain they’ve found their true loves too.

This post is for friendships found when you least expect it. It doesn’t matter if you keep them forever or you move on. They were there when you needed them and that is all that matters. Like someone rightly said, friends are the siblings God forgot to give us.


The little As both fine cooks, exposed the Punjabi and Kashmir cuisines to my then budding awareness of the culinary world. I owe my curiosity to explore more of these cuisines to their superior cooking.

Punjabi Garma Masala


1/2 cup [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cumin seeds”]B000JMBECW [/amazon-product]/ jeera
2 tbsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”coriander seeds”]B000N4WWS6[/amazon-product] / dhania
1½ ” (1.5 inches)[amazon-product type=”text” text=”cinnamon”]B001VNP1T0[/amazon-product] stick /patta / dalchini
1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”green cardamom”]B000JMBEEK[/amazon-product] seeds /elaichi
1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black cardamom”]B000S16XV6[/amazon-product]seeds /moti elaichi
2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cloves”]B00017P2LE[/amazon-product] /long
1/8 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”nutmeg”]B00017WSNE[/amazon-product] kernel /jaiphal
2 blades of [amazon-product type=”text” text=”mace”]B000M930C4[/amazon-product] / javitri
1 tbsp black pepper corns
2 whole [amazon-product type=”text” text=”star anise”]B000EWMI5O[/amazon-product]/ chakra phool
4 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”bay leaf”] B000JMBG2A [/amazon-product] /tej patta


  • Dry roast the spices individually in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Make sure the flame is set at medium heat. Keep stirring, be watchful and don’t let the spices burn on you.
  • Grind all the spices together into a fine powder.
  • Store in an air tight container.
  • Use sparingly since these are intense spices and can be over powering.

    Kashmiri Garam Masala


    1/4 cup [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black cumin”]B000JMBE2W[/amazon-product] seeds /shahi jeera
    2-3 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”bay leaves”] B000JMBG2A [/amazon-product], crushed
    2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”green cardamom”]B000JMBEEK[/amazon-product] seeds
    2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black cardamom”]B000S16XV6[/amazon-product] seeds
    1 tbsp black peppercorns
    2 tsp whole [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cloves”]B00017P2LE[/amazon-product] /gramboo/long
    1 tbsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”fennel”]B000N5YJZE[/amazon-product] /saunf
    1 tsp crushed [amazon-product type=”text” text=”mace”]B000M930C4[/amazon-product] /may flower/javitri
    1½ ” (1.5 inches) [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cinnamon”]B001VNP1T0[/amazon-product] stick /patta / dalchini
    1/8 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”nutmeg”]B00017WSNE[/amazon-product] kernel /jaiphal
    1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds


  • Dry roast the spices individually in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Make sure the flame is set at medium heat. Keep stirring, be watchful and don’t let spices burn on you.
  • Grind all the spices together into a fine powder.
  • Store in an air tight container.
  • Use sparingly since these are intense spices and can be over powering.
  • 16 Responses to “Punjabi And Kashmiri Garam Masala.”

    1. mahavir singh says:

      please give more detail of garam masala MAHAVIR SINGH BAREILLY

    2. Sam says:

      It’s a very pranic masala, I used it for the Punjabi Chole recipe: blissful!

    3. lucky says:

      can u tell me what will be quantity(in grams) made out of the above ingredients.


    4. imran says:

      what is the gujrati name for star anise

    5. Anu says:

      Hey Jules! Got around to reading this only now! Thank you! 🙂

    6. suresh says:

      is it possible to send me the kashmiri garam masala recipe’s quantity of each masala for 16 ltr bucket.

    7. suresh says:

      thank, for the garam masala recipe, i have a small restaurant and i want to make kashmiri garam masala for a month use, can you please send me the right quantity of each ingredient.
      I think one bucket of 16ltr of garam masala.

      • julie says:

        suresh, multiply all the ingredients proportionately to fill aout 1 & 1/2 times a bucket and powder it…you should be able to get about a bucket of the masala powder.

    8. Shirley says:

      Dear Julie

      I came to this site for the recipe, I am leaving it with the recipe and a big glow in my heart after reading your beautiful and moving account of this period of your life – thank you so much for sharing both of these treasures. Kind wishes, S

    9. Alok says:

      Your recipes say ’11/2’’ cinnamon stick’
      Is that 11 pieces of 2″ cinnamon stick or 1 piece of 1/2″ cinnamon stick?

    10. pavi says:

      Need to try this one, I tend to make my own spices as well but havent used all the ingredients of this recipe.

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