This aromatic Goan spice mix is perfect for vegetarian, as well as meat dishes. It comes together quickly and adds a heady kick to any dish. For a memorable curry using this masala see my Goan Beef Curry recipe!
Why Make Homemade Goan Garam Masala?
- It is hard to find this particular spice mix in the U.S.
- You get to taste a bit of Goa
- Ground spices lose taste and aroma; you will have a much fresher, aromatic masala
- You can tweak the spices and ratios to your taste
- Store-bought spices may skimp on the most expensive ingredients
What Makes this Spice Mix Different?
Basic garam masala is simply a mix of spices that varies from Indian state to state and kitchen to kitchen based on favorite family recipes, background, religion, and even the dish you are cooking. The garam masala available in stores typically uses a North Indian spice combination.
Goan masala mostly relies on coriander, dried red chilies, black peppercorns, fennel, and star anise, along with small amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and mace for their unique blend of flavors.
It is very similar to the Kerala garam masala recipe as the two west coast states aren’t so far apart. They use a similar list of ingredients, except Goan cooks relegate fennel seeds and cardamom to a much more supporting role. And they add dried red chilies for heat and color.
Many regional spice mixes do not usually include chilies, allowing the cook to add chilies as they wish depending on what they are cooking. But Goan cooks and eaters love their chilies.
Two of the most popular Goan meat and fish recipes, xacuti and recheado, each have a specific spice mix for that dish. But the following formula is a good all-purpose Goan masala that blends the favored spices of Goa and is perfect for flavoring proteins, vegetables, and legume dishes.
How to Make
In a skillet over medium heat, toast all the spices except the nutmeg and mace. Stir or shake the pan frequently to heat the spices evenly.
Remove the spices from the heat and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Break up the nutmeg into several pieces using a mortar and pestle or even a heavy pan. Add in the nutmeg and mace to the other spices and grind into a fine powder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, dried red chilies are used often in quantity so the food can be quite spicy hot. Here is where you as the cook can still make memorable Goan food, but control the amount of heat in a dish.
They are interchangeable, and possibly the same depending on your information source.
Yes, your dish will still be good, but you won't have the unique flavors of Goa.
Yes! Just remember that, unlike Northern garam masala that is easily found in the store, this masala also has chilies. So adjust your spicing accordingly.
How to Store
Goan garam masala will keep for up to 2 months in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Use this Garam Masala
Feel free to use the following blend of spices to flavor not only Goan recipes but also your everyday Indian or non-Indian cooking. I am thinking of egg salad sandwiches, roasted potatoes, turkey burgers, or any recipe that calls for garam masala (or just needs an extra hit of flavor). Goan garam masala could be your house's “curry powder.” As always, have fun playing with your food!
Here are some other recipes popular in Goa
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Please rate by clicking stars ⭐️ on the recipe card and/or let me know in the comments below. Thank you! ~Alonna
Recipe Card 📖
Goan Garam Masala Powder
- 1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
- 6 dry red Kashmiri chilies ~ More to taste, these chilies, see Notes below
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 star anise
- 3/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 green cardamon
- 1 2 1/2-inches cinnamon stick
- 1/4 whole nutmeg ~ Or 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 whole mace ~ Optional, or 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- 1 teaspoon white poppyseeds ~ Optional
- In a heavy skillet over medium heat, toast all the spices except the nutmeg and mace. Stir or shake the pan frequently to heat the spices evenly. Watch for the cumin seeds to darken a couple of shades and the spices to become fragrant. Resist the temptation to increase the heat. Be patient.
- Remove the spices from the heat and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Break up the nutmeg into several pieces using a mortar and pestle or even a heavy pan. Add in the nutmeg and mace to the other spices. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, process the spices into a fine powder. Work in batches as necessary.
- Goan garam masala will keep for up to 2 months in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you find you like this spice combination, use it in place of any recipe that calls for garam masala or "curry powder."
- After you become familiar with Goan garam masala's flavor profile and feel adventurous, you could add mustard seeds (2 teaspoons) and/or black cardamom (seeds of two pods).
- Kashmiri dried red chilies are not very hot, but if you are concerned about the heat level, break open the chilies and shake out the seeds.