Introduction: Homemade Garam Masala W/ Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

About: I'm a writer, computer geek, photographer, game designer, foodie, glassblower, gemstone cutter, synth nerd, musician, woodworker and wannabe jeweler.

Much like 'hot sauce' can cover a wide variety of interpretations, 'garam masala' is a catch-all phrase describing a spice mixture in Indian cooking. There are as many different versions as there are cooks, everyone putting their own spin on the mix. Here's my take on it:

Step 1: Assemble the Spices

Clockwise around Rim:

  • 2 dried red peppers, stemmed
  • 6 white cardamom pods
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajowan seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon charnushka seeds (also known as nigella or kalonji)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon blade mace
  • 1 clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used about half of the nutmeg piece in the picture)
  • 1/2 inch Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 inch Sumatran cinnamon stick


  • 1/2 teaspoon each pink and black peppercorns

Step 2: Get Toasted

Preheat a pan on medium.

  • Once hot, add all of the spices *except* the blade mace and the nutmeg.
  • Toast for 90 seconds or so, then dump the mix into a bowl to cool.
  • Immediately after dumping, return the chilies, cinnamon, and cardamom pods from the bowl to the stove.
  • Toast for another 3-4 minutes, until the chilies start to blacken a little.
  • Open the cardamom pods, and add the seeds inside to the spice mix along with the chilies and cinnamon.

Let it cool down completely before grinding.

Step 3: Dry the Chickpeas

Open a 16 oz can of chickpeas, and rinse thoroughly under cold water, agitating by hand. As you mix it up, the skins will begin to come off.

Put down some paper towels in a rimmed sheet tray, and pour out the chickpeas. With more paper towels on top, begin rolling the chickpeas around. This will simultaneously dry them a bit and help remove the skins.

Step 4: Grind and Season

Put the cooled spices into a spice grinder, plus the grated nutmeg and blade mace. Grind until fine.

In a bowl combine:

  • Chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garam marsala
  • Healthy pinch of sea salt.

Mix well.

Step 5: Cook and Eat!

Have a rimmed sheet pan preheated inside a 400 degree F oven. Add the chickpeas, avoiding clumps and multiple layers.

Cook for 20-30 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. When you pull them out, sprinkle with kosher salt.

They are good finger food, or mixed in with some Greek yogurt.