Snack Time: Warm Nuts w/ Garam Masala


A bag of naked almonds were poised in our cupboard, and so I turned on a low oven, rubbed them with a bit of olive oil, and roasted them for not very long before the house became aromatic--

While they transformed in the oven, I took down a book by Madhur Jaffrey, esteemed Indian food writer, and did a bit of reading up on garam masala, that sweet and savory Ayurvedic spice blend.

Of course I would sprinkle the almonds with it, perfect match. Wonderful way to warm and nourish, and a surprise snack for my daughter once off the bus. Jaffrey told me to make my own blend, and offered her own recipe. That’s what I did, grinding slowly and trans-like seeds and spices...

Warm Nuts with Garam Masala

Makes 2 cups

These are quite comforting, warm and spiced, and make a great snack. Garam masala is itself an aromatic Indian spice mixture made up of cardamom, clove, black pepper, cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon; you may easily find it in the spice section of your market. Although my daughter isn’t a big nut fan, she always gravitates toward these when I make them. Put out a bowl of these for company, or for something to munch on after school or before supper.


 2 cups raw (unsalted and unroasted) nuts, such as whole almonds, pecans, walnuts, and/or cashews
Oil or butter
Garam masala
Kosher or sea salt

Warm Oven

Preheat your oven to 300°F. Toss 2 cups raw (unsalted and unroasted) nuts, such as whole almonds, pecans, walnuts, and/or cashews with 1 teaspoon oil or melted butter. Once the oven is hot, pour the nuts onto a large sheet pan, in a single layer, and roast for about 20 minutes.

Smelling Good

Remove the nuts from the oven and toss immediately with 1 tablespoon of garam masala, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt.

CHEF NOTE: While reading up on garam masala I noticed Madhur Jaffrey—esteemed Indian chef—suggests that it’s easy and ideal to make your own mix at home. This is her recipe, all to be ground in a spice or coffee grinder or mortar and pestle: 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, 1/3 of a nutmeg, and 1 3-inch cinnamon stick (broken up). Looks like it’s time to hit the spice shop.


  • Beyond garam masala, consider other cupboard spices that would enliven roasted nuts thinking of ground chile, curry powder, or just simply sea salt and black pepper.