The main difference between garam masala and curry powder is that garam masala has a stronger flavour than curry powder.
Garam masala is a common spice blend in Indian cooking. However, curry powder is not an authentic Indian blend; in fact, it is a British invention. Although there are no set recipes for both spice blends, garam masala does not usually use turmeric while turmeric is a primary ingredient in curry powder. Since they consist of different spices, both blends have different flavour profiles.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Garam Masala
– Definition, Ingredient, Properties
2. What is Curry Powder
– Definition, Ingredients, Properties
3. What is the Difference Between Garam Masala and Curry Powder
– Comparison of Key Differences
Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Spices
What is Garam Masala
Garam masala is a mixture of spices commonly used in South Asian cuisines. You can use it alone or with other seasonings. The name garam masala literally means ‘warming spices’ as it warms the body and increases metabolism. This spice mixture includes a variety of spices. In fact, there is no single recipe – ingredients actually change according to regions. Cinnamon, coriander, cumin, mace, and peppercorns are the ingredients used in most recipes. Variations on garam masala also include spices like saffron, star anise, ginger, garlic, bay leaves, mustard seeds, tamarind, fenugreek, and Malabar leaves. Traditionally, garam masala is made fresh from the spices and used within a few days. The spices are usually toasted in a pan in their whole form, and then ground to a powder.
Since garam masala is a blend of spices, it has a complex flavour, including tanginess from coriander, spicy heat from peppercorns, sweetness from cinnamon and earthiness from coriander. We usually use garam masala as a final seasoning; we add it towards the end of the cooking. Sometimes you can even sprinkle it on top of the dish.
What is Curry Powder
Curry powder is a mixture of spices that has a yellow hue. Although we usually associate curry powder with Indian cuisine, it is not an authentic Indian ingredient. It is a spice blend created by Westerners to evoke the essence of Indian food. Moreover, we can use curry powder as a seasoning for sauces, soups, and marinades.
Just like garam masala, curry powder also has no single recipe. There are variations in recipes. However, turmeric is one of the main ingredients in curry powder. Also, it’s turmeric that gives curry powder its characteristic yellow hue. Other ingredients in curry powder include spices like cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and clove black pepper, and fennel seeds. Moreover, curry powder is less flavorful than garam masala as it uses less flavourful spices.
Difference Between Garam Masala and Curry Powder
Garam masala is a common spice mixture used in Indian cooking. Curry powder is a mixture of spices that is commonly used in western cooking.
While the garam masala has a brown colour, the curry powder has a yellow colour.
Turmeric is a primary ingredient in curry powder; however, turmeric is not an ingredient in most garam masala blends.
Moreover, garam masala has a stronger flavour than curry powder.
We usually use garam masala as a final seasoning (towards the end of the cooking) while curry powder is a seasoning for sauces, soups, and marinades.
The main difference between garam masala and curry powder is that garam masala has a stronger flavour than curry powder. Furthermore, turmeric is a primary ingredient in curry powder; however, turmeric is not an ingredient in most garam masala blends.
1. Alfaro, Danilo. “How to Use Garam Masala in Your Indian Dishes.” The Spruce Eats, Available here.
2. Sarkar, Petrina Verma. “Understand Curry Powder and Its Relationship to Indian Cuisine.” The Spruce Eats, Available here.