‘What is the Difference Between Curry Powder and Garam Masala Powder?’
Now, if this question was asked to a person living in India, they would probably smirk at you and think you are some kind of a non-foodie alien!
For one ‘Curry masala’ is not an Indian spice and two you don’t actually need curry powder to make Indian food!!
Did I just raise your eyebrows?
Well, both these statements are true especially when it comes to traditional Indian cooking.
You see both the powders are spice blends made with many different spices. Just like Taco seasoning and Fajita seasoning are two different yet similar spice blends used for two different purposes, it is similar to Curry Powder and Garam Masala Powder.
I will point out the differences between the spices by highlighting the following:
The Origin of Curry Powder and Garam Masala
The Uses of Curry Powder and Garam Masala in cooking
The distinctive flavour profile of Curry Powder and Garam Masala
Recommendation to buy Curry Powder and Garam Masala online
Although different in many ways than one, there are few similarities between the spices too. We will briefly touch upon it as well so that you can make your choice when it comes to choosing one spice for the other.
Where did Curry Powder and Garam Masala Come from?
As mentioned earlier, curry powder and Garam masala powder are both spice blends. Meaning they are made using different types of spices. I will delve upon the ingredient listing later in this post. I just what to touch upon where the two originated from.
Curry powder is the innovation of the Brits. You can read here about the interesting origins of curry powder, so will not go too much in depth. But in short its a spice blend which the British tossed up together to simply Indian cooking, although authenticity part is debatable!
Garam Masala Powder, on the other hand, is an authentic and traditional spice blend used by every Indian either living in the subcontinent or outside! You will ever come across an Indian household (provided that they cook Indian regularly) without a Garam Masala Powder in their spice cabinet. (unless they run out of it)
What Spices Make Garam Masala and Curry Powder
Since both the spices are spice blends its obvious that it will be made with different spices.
However, like most Indian or any world spice blends, it’s difficult to specify the exact recipe. This is because there is no set recipe for Garam Masala powder or Curry powder. It is very rare to come across recipes that are exactly the same for making Garam Masala or Curry Powder at home or for that matter even commercially bought pre-mixed spice blend.
This infographic below will help in characterising and simplifying the most common spices used for making Garam Masala and Curry powder.
How Does Garam Masala and Curry Powder Taste?
If you read my post on Garam Masala you will know that it is derived from the Hindi word meaning ‘Hot Spice’.
Referring to the table above, you will notice that Garam Masala use spices that are sharp, strong that is cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and in some other recipes even nutmeg and peppercorn.
All these spices together give Garam Masala powder a very strong flavour with a slightly warming, sweet, pungent taste.
Curry powder, on the other hand, is made of more spices, where one of the main ingredients is Turmeric powder.
Its a relatively mild spice. The reason its used to make curry powder is to give a yellow tint to the dish without the need to add any additional spices.
The other spices used in larger quantity when compared to Garam Masala are fenugreek powder, cumin powder, coriander powder which are all sweet mild spices. This makes curry powder milder to taste and less heightened flavour.
The Uses of Curry Powder and Garam Masala in cooking
Now that we have a better idea of what kind of flavour each of the spices have, it will make us better understand its use for cooking.
Garam Masala can be used both during the cooking process or at the end to give the dish a finishing touch. Adding and stirring Garam Masala at the end of cooking retains and heightens the flavours of the dish.
The key to using Garam Masala is that it should be sparingly used. Too much of it may be an overkill of flavours!
Since Curry powder is used as an Indian curry spice blend, its used during the cooking process and added while you make the base sauce.
It’s also important to cook out the raw flavours of the pre-blended curry mix to avoid an unpleasant taste.
What are the Similarities Between Curry Powder and Garam Masala Powder
If the two spices are so different, then why is it that so many people get confused about them?
The reason well could be that both these spices have become synonymous to Indian food. Its treated almost like Chinese 5 spice when you cook Chinese at home or like Cajun spice if its Spanish or Cajun-style cooking.
The classification of Curry powder and Garam Masala powder as an Indian spice blend confuses many which makes them use it for the wrong purpose.
The striking similarity between the two is that they are both spice blends and use almost the same spices, however, the quantity of mild spices such as turmeric, cumin and coriander is more in one than the other.
Apart from this, there is no other relatable similarity.
Can You Use Garam Powder Instead of Curry powder or Vice Versa?
Now that you are aware of the differences and similarities between the two, the question if you can use one or the other is pretty much valid.
Referring to the table of ingredients above you will notice that both contain more or less that same spices.
The difference in the recipe is the quantity of each spice used. Garam Masala powder uses the stronger pungent spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom more compared to curry powder, which uses mild spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek.
This instantly gives both these spices different flavour profiles.
Because the flavour profile and taste of the two are different, in an ideal world it should not be used as a substitute.
But many do due to lack of a suitable alternative or they simply may be unaware of the subtle yet big difference between the two.
You may have come across recipes where they use both Curry powder and Garam Masala powder?
This is because the spices can be used together in a dish complimenting or highlighting the flavour. The point to remember when using these two together is that you need to use both in moderation.
The closest substitute for curry powder will be a mix of turmeric, coriander powder and cumin powder while for Garam masala powder it will be cardamon, cloves and cinnamon.
So, my advise to you would be NOT to use them as substitutes, but if you are stuck for better options then there is no reason why you should not.
Where to Buy Spices From?
Both these spices are readily available in most large supermarkets these days. Although you may find Curry powder to be the more popular of the two when it comes to shelf stocking.
Your Local Indian store or ethnic store will surely have these.
Other than the traditional stores you can also order them online. Here is a list of few online store options for you:
US Online Stores
Badia is an American manufacturer of spices and herbs that started back in 1967. The so… [More]
There are all sorts of speculation in the cooking world and ideas. As we know, almost every year the qualities of each cooking instrument are updated, making them easier to use, more efficient, save time, even cook in less oil, healthier, etc.
Let’s find out why few people prefer to use instant pots, instead of the standard pots.
In this post you will learn :
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a pressure cooker?
The difference between cooking in a regular pot and cooking in a pressure cooker.
Safety tips to keep in mind when using a pressure cooker.
Best pressure cookers to buy.
Why is cooking in a pressure cooker consideredhealthy?
The Advantages of Using a Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker has the advantage of reducing cooking time, to three times faster than cooking in a regular pot. Moreover, this speed spoils neither the quality nor the taste of the food, and it even becomes tastier.
This type of pan is especially recommended for recipes that require longer cooking time like pulses, legumes, grains etc.
One of the reasons people avoid using a pressure cooker is its past reputation of bursting.
Well, the modern day improved versions of pressure cookers like the instant pot are designed with safety features. So, you need not worry about a kitchen blast.
The other reason is the requirement to follow cooking instructions to avoid over or under cooking the ingredients.
Unlike a reqular pot, you are unable to remove lid and keep an eye on your meal. So for people used to manual controlled cooking, this fill set and hope for the best, way of cooking method may prove to be a bit challenging.
However, the modern day pressure cookers and easy instructions take care of both the issues.
How to Use a Pressure Cooker
All pressure cookers come in a package with detailed instructions for use and maybe even with a recipe booklet with recipes to cook in a pressure cooker.
Few important points to remember when using a pressure cooker are :
The cover valve must always be open, which means that the pot should never be filled completely up with food or water, otherwise, when boiling, it may ooze out of the nozzle.
The boiling time of each meal and /or individual ingredient should be strictly respected, to retain all the vitamins, minerals and fibers of chicken beef and other food ingredients.
Another essential element is that the pressure cooker works only on low heat and the whistle signals when the food is ready. Only lift the lid up, when the sound stops and all the steam is out. Look at this demo.
Best Pressure Cookers to Buy
We all want things that will last as long as possible.
When it comes to buying pressure cookers it is important to take note of the material it is made from.
A high-quality pressure cooker should be made of steel and the ebonite handle. Otherwise, you can even endanger your life.
The Difference Between a Standard Pot and Pressure Cooker
The standard pan is just as functional as a pressure cooker.
Cooking in a regular pot is traditional in the sense that it’s easier to use because it does not need to follow a more significant number of instructions, you can just raise the lid and control your cooking.
However, if you use such a pot, vitamins and essential minerals in food are not found in such a high percentage as they are found in the food cooked under pressure.
So both versions can be used, but the improved version is healthier.
Even if several requirements are met, the pressure cooker is among the favorites of the cooks because it has the same qualities as the regular pot, but it comes with improvements that are crucial in the cooking world. Not only does it save a lot of time, but it is also healthy, and it tastes even more intense.
Why Make The Pressure Pot Your Kitchen Ally
Engaged in the rhythm of an increasingly alert life, we are forced to make the most of our time.
Households have become a struggle against the timer, which is why most of them have suddenly discovered the utility and advantages of using home appliances that would not have been considered essential before.
Among the innovations to make our kitchen time more efficient, is the pressure cooker.
A handy utensil that offers not only the advantage of saving time but also the opportunity to cook diversely and healthily in record time, especially if you use an excellent electric cooker.
Although we might think that the pressure cooker is a recent invention, there is evidence that it has been around for over 100 years. Initially called the “steam room,” the discovery belongs to a French physicist – Denis Papin, who manages to demonstrate that increased pressure can cause the temperature to rise beyond the standard boiling point.
Moreover, the physicist also conceives the safety valve that prevents the accumulation of steam inside the container, to turn into an explosion.
When using a regular dish, the boiling point or the baking of a meal cannot exceed 100 degrees Celsius.
Pressure cooking manages to increase this temperature by at least 20 degrees, thus speeding up the preparation of food. This pressured heat is attributed to the tight lid, which prevents the destruction of nutrients that provide the nutritional value and retains natural flavor to any food prepared with this “miracle pot.”
Over to you
Do you have a pressure cooker or have cooked or tasted food cooked in a pressure cooker? What did you think about it and would you consider cooking in a pressure cooker.
A Spring/ Summer salad with strawberries, fresh rocket and mango in a tangy spicy mango chutney dressing brought together in just 10 minutes.
Salad with Fruits and Vegetables
SALAD! Does that draw a picture of a bowl of assorted green colour leaves, specks of cucumbers with hints of red in the form of cherry tomatoes with a usual dark brown or white dressing drizzled on the top?
Well, that is what I was accustomed to. Until recently, I discovered the various combinations that go into making these otherwise green healthy bowls into some sort of exotic artistic palates!
One of the greatest revelations to my taste buds was the addition of diced or chopped fruits to green leafy salads that changed the whole flavour spectrum.
Fruits added to an ordinary mix of leaves and salad vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, raddish, peppers, celery gives a salad a natural tangy sweetness and breaks the monotony of blandness.
This also means that you do not have to take that extra step to make complex or heavy salad dressings to add flavour to a bowl.
A salad made with fruits and vegetables not only enhances the taste but also has added health benefits too! It’s almost like eating your 3 parts of 5 a day diet!
Spring and summer time is perhaps the best time of the year to get an abundance and variety of fruits and salad ingredients.
With the temperatures running high; you need to keep your body temperature low and feeling light. Heavy greasy meals raise bad cholesterol and can increase inflammation of the body making you feel a bit bloated and lethargic! ( needing an afternoon siesta post a pot of pasta!!)
A cool, crisp light salad with colourful fruits makes for a great healthy quick summer meal that is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals!
Just what to need to maintain that bikini bod!
Making salad becomes quicker if you have the right kind of gadgets which makes chopping a piece of cake; or in this case a bowl of salad!
For an easy summer salad idea think about the following combinations of flavours:
Green sprouts, cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and sunflower seeds
Avocado, peach, Gorgonzola, Rocket
Mixed green, oranges, grapefruit, feta and nuts
Garbanzo beans, cucumbers, olives, feta, grapes, apples
Fennel, apples, oranges and pine nuts
Kidney beans, peppers, corn, red onions, cranberries and cucumber
Raddish, celery, mixed green and pineapple
Lettuce, Baby spinach, grapes and roasted nuts
Spicy Spring/Summer Salad with Strawberries, Rocket and Mango
This summer salad was put together as a spur of the moment thing post my shopping trip. I had bought some fresh rocket leaves and strawberries (amongst the hundred other bags) and was starving after the long day at the aisles!
There were no leftovers for me to go to, so I opened my newly purchased produce and started to put together flavours that I wanted to eat. In this case it was the bright green rocket leaves and juicy red sweet and tangy strawberries.
I also had half eaten mango which I tossed in too!
There is absolutely no reason for you to stick to the same salad ingredients that I have used. Feel free to make your own combinations.
For the dressing, I fancied something spicy and non-vinaigrette dressing, so came up with the idea of making one with some mango chutney from the jar.
The reason for me to share this recipe with you is that I would like you to try this unique yet effortless dressing. The use of mango chutney as a dressing gives the salad a spicy tangy sweet taste that really tantalises the taste buds!