Garam masala winter spice!

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

The solstice on the 21 December is the mark of the turn to winter and the growing of the light in the days to come till the longest day of light the 21 June. Now all the celebrations of Christmas and New Year have settled the cold crisp air starts to get very chilly and forms snow or icy moisture forms in the air. This onset of seasonal changes is the mark of the season of Kapha in Ayurveda which reflects the elements of Water and Earth. Kapha translates as "that which sticks" and governs the bodies structural aspects and body fluids.

The qualities of Kapha for this season (until the spring equinox) are moist, cold, dull, damp, soft, sticky and static.

We want to eat foods which are going to create a balance and so create the counterbalance harmonizing effect in the dosha. This becomes an intuitive process once you familiarize yourself with the doshas and which foods balance, increase or decrease your dosha. As a rule, to attain balance, we first consider our primary dosha and then the seasonal dosha. The reason why within Ayurveda we want to re-cog-nise the seasonal changes is for the purpose to remember that each season ones diet has to change.

Now in winter, we need foods which are drying, heating, light and stimulating. One would need to increase foods which are warming, oily and grounding. And yet a Kapha predominant dosha person could eat more raw, pungent, bitter and astringent and less oily food as one wants more of the qualities of the opposite dosha to balance it all out. Kaphas would benefit to getting outdoors regularly to walk and move around (qualities more associated with vata dosha). Eating warm light soups, decorating your surrounding with warm, vibrant colors. Those who have a predominant Pitta dosha can increase slightly an intake of that food they avoid all year because it increases their dosha too much e.g honey, flax and sesame seeds.

Let us start by preparing a simple spice blend for adding to soups and savory dishes, spices which are stimulating for digestion and circulation. The smell of the spices when you start to roast them is so good!

Garam masala (hot spices)


5 cinnamon sticks 1/4 cup black pepper

2 tbsp red peppercorns 1/4 cup cardamon pods 1/8 cup whole cloves

2 tbsp fennel seed 10 bay leaves 4 whole anise 2 tbsp cumin seeds

Kapha and Vata can add 2 tbsp ginger powder

Pitta can reduce the amount of black pepper 1tbsp should be enough.

1. In a dry skillet over a very low flame dry toast all spices for 7 mins. Stirring and being careful not to over toast the seeds.

2. Add to a clean coffee grinder or blender and turn into a powder spice blend.

A pitta type can reduce black pepper and cloves and include fennel seeds and coriander seeds.

You need a hand grinder to make it super smooth just before adding it to the food.

We can add the spice to rice dishes, dahls and soups. Enjoy!!! and stay warm.