Packing Flavourful Punch of Garam Masala in Cooking

Packing Flavourful Punch of Garam Masala in Cooking
2 May, 2024
Packing Flavourful Punch of Garam Masala in Cooking

One can hardly find a kitchen cabinet in India or in the subcontinent wherein a small jar of garam masala is not stored. Garam Masala stands out as the spice mix which is warm, fragrant and can elevate the taste of any dish for a very small amount added. If we delve further, here is what we can find. Garam masala is a popular North Indian spice blend which is added to the stews, curries and more. Garam masala translates to “warm spices”. Yet, the flavours are not too spicy to cause a stir in you palette! This unique spice blends hits all the taste notes to leave your food tastier than ever and your senses surrender to its brilliance; garam masala is sweet, warm, earthy, and even slightly floral.

How Different is Garam Masala from Curry Powder?

In terms of the sheer ingredients used for garam masala and curry powder mix, the former is consists of  dry-roasted and ground spices. It doesn't contain any turmeric, which gives it a brownish colour whereas the latter contains turmeric, which imparts a vibrant yellow hue to the blend. The combination of spices and various herbs makes curry powder a versatile mix of spice in the kitchen. Talking about the flavour profile, garam masala is known for its warmth and sweet undertones. They add complexities to the food with a hint of spiciness. On the other hand, curry powder has a milder offers a milder flavour which gives it more of an earthy taste and the turmeric powder too adds to the pronounced taste. Perhaps an interesting part is that the garam masala mix can have its own variations based on the region, whereas curry powder is a standardized composition.

Use of Garam Masala

Despite being an intricate mix of spices and typically being seen as a spice mix for selected cooking, garam masala has plenty of uses in a wide range of dishes. The best part about garam masala is that they can be added to the food at any point of the preparation; be it right at the start or when the food is semi-cooked or when the dish needs one final touch of spices, garam masala fits the bill on all counts. Nevertheless, the preferred style of adding garam masala remains to be the final stage of cooking in order to infuse the dish with its delightful aroma and flavor. Typically, the garam masala blend is a combination of 12 prime spice ingredients that are chosen to give a harmonious taste and rich flavour profile. The spices include bay leaves, black pepper, black cardamom, coriander, cassia, cumin, common salt, clove, fennel, star anise, red chili, and clove leaves.

Things to Avoid while Buying Garam Masala

The only thumb rule applied to the usage of garam masala that of avoiding overstocking your supplies. The ready-to-use spice mixes, regardless of how well they are packaged can become stale and less powerful after a period of time. Thus, stock the spices based on the frequency of use only as once the packaging is opened, the shelf life of the spices begin to wither. In terms of best culinary practice, you are better off not adding too much of garam masala as it can be overpowering to your dish and can leave a unwanted after-taste.


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