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Best Garam Masala?

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So, I've decided to go on some new cooking binges, and realized I need to add to or update my spice arsenal. I'm particularly needing to work on the spices common in Indian cuisine. I have my cumin, my coriander, my cardamom pods, etc. I'm in need of more good garam masala (thought about making my own, but...) and turmeric, and maybe a few other things... we'll see.

I've thought about a few places--
The Spice Station in Santa Monica
Penzey's in Santa Monica
India Sweets and Spices
Surfa's
...or possibly my local kosher market (I tried Glatt, but no luck, may look at Elat)

I'm not so much concerned about them not carrying it, but getting some feedback about the blends. I'm hoping some hounds will have passion for a specific source/brand/blend! And if there are any other spices/products at one of these places, feel free to throw those out too! Or if you have another preferred source...

TIA!

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Spice Station
3205 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

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  1. I use Penzey's Garam Masala and love it...

    1. I make it fresh using Julie Sahni's recipes. It always tastes great, it's easy, and I don't have to worry about whether it contains sawdust / food-grade cellulose.

      1 Reply
      1. We moved a number of posts about making Garam Masala at home to our Home Cooking board, here: http://www.chow.com/topics/798376 .

        1. I've not tasted the others you list but I've tasted quite a few Garam Masalas and never found one to compare with Penzey's. I added a dash last night to a pot of asparagus/cheese soup and it was almost magical.