A masala is a blend of spices, and garam means hot or warm, so garam masala is a blend of hot or warm spices, often used to make curries. The blend of spices used traditionally depended on local or regional tastes, nowadays it is usually made up of a mixture of cardamom, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, bay leaves and mace. The spices are dry-fried or roasted and then ground. Garam masala is, unusually, often sprinkled over a cooked dish just before serving as a final flavouring, rather than being added at the start of a recipe.
Uses: Add to curries and spicy dishes, just before the end of cooking. Stir in 1 tsp to cooked rice for a delicate spicy taste or sprinkle over grilled and roasted meats towards the end of cooking.
To store: Keep in an airtight jar, in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.