Did you know Comparing Garam Masala vs Curry Powder are different?

May 6, 2022 by admin0

Sometimes even experienced cooks can get confused between garam masala and curry powder. After all, both are used in Indian cooking and they seem to be a staple ingredients in many dishes. How different could the ingredients be, after all?

You may be surprised to learn that they are actually very different spices, comprising different ingredients. As a matter of fact, curry powder is not even popularly used in Indian kitchens. It was originally a British concoction to give an Indian flavor to their foods.

Comparing Garam Masala vs Curry Powder

  • Ingredients – garam masala comprises cardamom, cinnamon or cassia, cloves, peppercorns, mace, and nutmeg as the basic ingredients. Different blends will add bay leaves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, star anise, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and regional variants may have other spices like mustard and fenugreek seeds added to the blend.
  • Curry powder usually has some spices like cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, and cumin, in smaller quantities, but also contains turmeric, ginger, fenugreek seeds, red chili, asafetida, ginger, garlic, and mustard seeds. It can be in different heat variants, mild, medium or hot. Both spice blends will use a variety of ingredients, depending on the formulation used to make the blend and the region it is from.
  • Usage – thanks to its warm and pungent spices, is used at the end of the cooking process. It may be incorporated in the food, or even sprinkled on it, much like a garnish. The heat of the food releases the essential oils in the spices and adds a kick to the food. On the other hand, curry powder is added at the beginning of the cooking process as many ingredients like turmeric and mustard need to be cooked.
  • Color – garam masala is typically a shade of brown, whereas curry powder is usually yellowish in color.
  • Dishes – curry powder is not generally used in India except perhaps in ‘British Indian’ dishes but is acceptable in other countries. Sometimes, it may be the only spice used apart from salt. Garam masala is widely used in India in many dishes, with other spices to give flavor and heat to the foods. It is rarely used alone.

Garam masala and curry powder, depending on the brand you use (or if you make your own), have varied flavor profiles and are best not used interchangeably as the taste of the food will be very different.

Garam Masala Benefits for Health

The whole spices that make up the garam masala blend affect your health positively. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved digestion – cardamom and pepper in garam masala increase gastric acid production in the body and clove and cumin also reduce symptoms such as bloating and flatulence.
  • Reduced bad breath – cloves, cardamom, fennel, and cinnamon are common mouth fresheners and reduce bad breath.
  • Antioxidant-rich – all the spices are rich in antioxidants and these fight free radicals in the body. They help improve heart health and reduce brain strokes. They also boost metabolism, helping in weight loss.
  • Increased immunity – the spices have a warming effect on the body and help fight respiratory ailments like cough and cold. They also help flush out toxins from the body.
  • Enhanced nutrient absorption – piperine in pepper, when combined with other spices, increases the nutrient availability of all the foods it is eaten with.
  • Improved brain and nerve function – the many spices in garam masala work together to protect the nervous system and help improve brain function and protect against Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

You can avail yourself of all these health benefits when you regularly add these spices to your foods. Curry powder, because of the different spices used in the product, yields some of the same benefits and some that are quite different.

What are the Usages of Garam Masala?

Garam masala is a very versatile spice mix. While the flavor profile will vary and depend on the number and quantity of each ingredient in the blend – and there is no fixed formula for this – you can typically use it in dishes such as:

Indian foods:

  • Tandoori dishes
  • Tikka masalas
  • Makhani or makhanwala foods
  • Shahi dishes
  • Biryani and pullao
  • Kheema or minced meat
  • Almost all dhals, lentils, and beans
  • Dry vegetable, chicken, and meat dishes
  • Rotis and parathas

Other cuisines:

Even though both spices are Indian, there is no reason you cannot add it to western dishes. You can use this spice mix in foods like

  • Soups
  • Marinades
  • Rubs
  • Omelet
  • Coleslaw and other salads
  • Salad dressings
  • Stews
  • Sauces

You can even experiment and add to bread and savory cookies. Adding a pinch of garam masala to sweet dishes including rich fruit cakes and cookies will enhance their taste, as long as you don’t use a very hot version of garam masala.

Learn about this and many other interesting cuisines at Frontlearn Institute. Join us today.

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