Garam masala is a blend of ground spices used extensively in Indian cuisine. The spices for garam masala are usually toasted to bring out more flavor and aroma, and then ground.
Garam masala adds warmth, sweetness, floral notes, and a touch of heat from the black pepper. It is intended to be a fragrant spice as well as flavorful. While cumin, coriander, and turmeric may remind you of curry, garam masala is generally not firey hot.