Garam Masala and Curry powder both are very popular spice blends used in Indian cooking.
While garam masala is native to India and is part of most traditional Indian dishes, curry powder is an invention of the British.
Curry powder is not used in traditional Indian cooking and is more commonly used in western cooking to get the curry flavors.
Comparison between Curry Powder and Garam Masala –
|Curry Powder||Garam Masala|
|Use||Used in the initial stages of cooking the curry. It is added along with the aromatics and it needs to be well cooked to ensure the raw taste of spices is gone.|
Curry Powder is always used as a powder only and the spices are never used whole.
Curry Powder imparts the main flavors of the dish.
|Added at the end to add earthy heat and flavors to the dish. The spices are already roasted and do not need to be cooked at high temperature as they may start tasting burnt.|
Sometimes garam masala spices are also added as a whole in the beginning to hot oil. This is done to add mild flavors and aroma of the spices to the curry.
Garam Masala is a flavor enhancer spice.
|Color||It has orangish color due to the presence of yellow turmeric and red chilli or paprika||Garam Masala is brown in color|
|Flavor||Has heat due to the presence of paprika or chillies||It is not spicy but warm as it does not contain any hot spices like chili and paprika|
|Ingredients||Coriander, Cumin, Paprika, Turmeric, Fenugreek, Ginger, Garlic, Fennel||Coriander, Cumin, Mace, Cinnamon, Black Peppercorns, Bay Leaf, Green Cardamom, Brown Cardamom, Cloves|
|Origin||An invention of the British to get the curry flavors in a powder. It is not used in the traditional Indian curries.||Garam Masala is part of traditional Indian cuisine and is used from the time of the Mughal kings.|
|Naming||Curry powder has been named based on the Indian curries that it is used to make||Garam Masala translates to “Hot Spice Blend”. It gets its name from the body warming nature of the spices used in the spice blend.|
How to make curry powder with garam masala?
Garam Masala and curry powder have completely different flavor profiles. While garam masala has earthy flavors, curry powder has more heat to it.
Ideally you will not be able to get the exact curry masala flavor from garam masala. However, when in pinch you can use this formula to get curry masala flavors from garam masala-
1 tbsp Curry Masala = 1/2 tsp Garam Masala + ½ tbsp Turmeric Powder +½ tbsp Paprika Powder + ¼ tsp Ginger Powder + ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
Can you use garam masala and curry powder together?
Yes, we can use the garam masala and curry powder together. While curry powder is added in the beginning of making the curry, garam masala is added later to impart earthy flavors to the dish. The 2 masalas have completely different flavor profile and can be used together.
Can you use curry powder instead of garam masala?
No, substituting curry powder for garam masala will not work because the garam masala spices have a completely different flavor profile. Garam Masala adds a warm, earthy flavor to the dish whereas curry powder adds more heat and is spicy.
It is not necessary to add garam masala to all dishes. If you do not have garam masala you can completely skip it as long as you are using other spices in the dish for the basic flavors. Garam Masala is a flavor enhancer spice and it’s better to skip it than to replace it with curry powder.
There are different types of garam masala i.e. whole garam masala and powdered one.