Can you mix curry powder and garam masala?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “Can you mix curry powder and garam masala?”, and list down the differences between curry powder and garam. We will also mention if you can substitute garam masala for curry powder.

Can you mix curry powder and garam masala?

Yes, you can mix curry powder and garam masala. One thing to keep in mind while using them both together is that both should be used in moderation so as to avoid overwhelming the flavor profile.

They both have different flavor profiles and are used in different cooking processes. However they can be mixed together for an enhanced flavor but if you do not add in moderation, the resulting flavor can be very overpowering.

Curry powder VS Garam masala

People often get confused between curry powder and garam masala and whether they are the same or not. Let us try to clear that confusion.

Curry powder originated from the British while garam masala is a staple spice blend in almost all Indian homes.

Although both are a complex blend of Indian spices, the ingredients used to make them are different.

Garam masala literally means ‘hot spice’ because it is very hot and is used to add spiciness or to heighten the flavor profile of a dish. It is used during or at the end of cooking to enhance the flavor.

On the other hand, curry powder is milder and sometimes even sweet. It is added during the cooking process to make the base sauce. It is much like a main ingredient used to make curry rather than an addition for enhancement of flavor. 

Curry powder is usually yellow in color while garam masala is brown so you can tell them apart without the labels.

There is no standard recipe for both of the spice blends. Everyone makes or uses the spice blend that works better for them.

Some ingredients used to make curry powder are turmeric, chili powder, black peppercorn, fennel seed powder, mustard powder, cumin, fenugreek and ginger powder.

On the other hand, ingredients used to make garam masala blend are stronger and aromatic. These include cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg, and black cardamom.

Learn more about the differences here.

Can you substitute garam masala for curry powder?

Ideally, garam masala and curry powder should not be substituted for each other as they both have different flavor profiles. Curry powder has a milder flavor while garam masala is more stronger and pungent. 

A lot of recipes mention using garam masala in place of curry powder because the two terms have been a matter of confusion among people. 

Although garam masala is not a suitable substitute for curry powder, you can still use it if you have no other substitutes or alternatives but in moderation. This should be your last resort. 

If you do not have curry powder and still wish to make curry, try using turmeric, cumin powder, and coriander powder mixed together. 

On the other hand, you can use curry powder as a substitute for garam masala as curry powder is milder and does not overpower the dish. You can add a tablespoon of curry powder in place of garam masala.

How to make the most of curry powder?

For best results, add curry powder at the beginning of the cooking process. This allows all the aromatic spices in the curry powder to cook and release their flavors.

Cook it a little in a pan with a dash of oil or let it simmer in water or chicken stock. Later add all the ingredients like chicken or vegetables. 

Curry tastes better the next day as you may have heard. The curry becomes thicker and creamier. In addition, meat and vegetables soak up all the juices and flavors. Meat becomes more tender as it is allowed to rest. The spices also get time to release all of their flavors and combine to give a flavorful curry.

Other FAQs about Curry powder that you may be interested in.

Is Garam Masala the same as curry powder?

What do you add to curry powder?

What is the difference between curry powder and garam masala?

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question “Can you mix curry powder and garam masala?”, and listed down the differences between curry powder and garam. We also mentioned if you can substitute garam masala for curry powder.

Citations

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.