An aromatic mixture of ground spices used as a base in many Indian dishes (‘masala’ means spice). The proportion of spices changes according to the dish being cooked (and the cook!) but typical ingredients are cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, with substitutions or additions made depending on whether the dish includes meat, vegetables or fish.
You can grind your own garam masala according to your tastes, but it can also be bought ready-made.
Garam masala is usually added to dishes towards the end of cooking.