Substitutes for Garam Masala in a Hearty Curry

Rate this post

Garam masala is a popular spice mix in Indian and South Asian cuisines. Garam masala, which is popular in curries, lentil dishes, and soups, can bring warmth to marinades for grilled fish and meats, as well as salad dressings.

Garam masala added depth of flavor to fresh breads, yogurt dips, roast potatoes, jacket potatoes, veggie sides, corn on the cob, and scrambled eggs.

In this article, we’ll look into garam masala and what makes it so special. We also look at what you may use in lieu of garam masala, whether you’ve run out, are having difficulty finding it at your grocery store, or just want to try some new dishes.

The words garam (hot) and masala (spices) are said to have originated in Northern India, where it may still be found in traditional Mughal dishes. Garam masala’s use ultimately extended across India and into other nations such as Pakistan and as far west as modern-day Iran.

Garam masala contains thirty or more spices that are warming rather than spicy, and in Ayurveda medicine, these spices are utilized to boost metabolism as well as being a pleasant complement to foods served in colder locations such as Northern India.

Garam masala’s spice mix varies based on geography; garam masala from Northern India (particularly the Punjab region) is normally gentler and more fragrant, relying on black peppercorns for heat, whilst variations from farther south are hotter, since they often include red chile in the blend.

The essential spices in most garam masala mixes include cumin, cinnamon, mace, cloves, peppercorns, coriander, nutmeg, and cardamom. Additional spices that may be used include fennel seeds, ginger, star anise, turmeric, or saffron, as well as garlic, red chilies, mustard seeds, fenugreek, bay leaves, or Malabar leaves.

Kashmiri masala, from the Kashmir area, is a famous regional variation of garam masala that is widely used in nations such as Pakistan.

Since the number and quality of spices in garam masala varies, describing how it tastes may be difficult, but it should be aromatic, have some sweetness and floral notes, and some heat from the peppercorns, but not too much.

Garam masala spices are often roasted before grinding to enable more flavor to come through when cooked. Garam masala is often used at the end of cooking to give taste as well as scent. It may also be sprinkled on dishes before serving.

Garam masala is traditionally produced fresh and utilized within a few days. The masalchi, or spice grinder, plays a vital part in Indian cuisine, and a masalchi will spend a significant amount of time grinding and crushing herbs and spices to get the greatest possible mix for cooking. The combination of spices (and herbs) is what makes Indian and other cuisines so famous.

Since garam masala is such a difficult combination, most of us prefer to purchase it pre-blended rather than attempting to blend it ourselves.

Garam masala is sold as is after it has been crushed and blended, or as a paste that has been combined with water, vinegar, and coconut milk.

Garam masala can typically be found in bigger grocery shops or specialist Indian stores, but purchase it in modest quantities since certain spices lose taste after a few months of being powdered.

If stored in an airtight jar or container in a cold, dark area, shop purchased garam masala should last for about six months. If you’re using old garam masala, you may need to add more than the recipe calls for to get the same level of flavor.

Substituting Garam Masala

If you’ve ran out of this warming spice combination and want to make a curry, here are a few replacements you may use in its stead.

1. Homemade Easy Garam Masala

While garam masala should be created from whole spices that have been roasted before grinding, you may make a simple garam masala using the primary spices that you are likely to have in your home.

If you have any of them whole, ground them first before incorporating them as a powder. Instead of merely adding the needed quantity of each spice to the meal, mix them together ahead of time to enable the tastes to come through more clearly.

Use one part cloves, one part cumin, three parts cinnamon, coriander, a half part black pepper, and a half part cardamom. Combine these ingredients and use the same quantity in your recipe as you would store-bought garam masala. If you have any leftover homemade mix, put it in an airtight container in a cold, dry area.

2. Curry Powder

Curry powder is another spice combination that is often used in Indian cooking. Curry powder, like garam masala, offers flavor to recipes; however, the turmeric in curry powder also gives color to meals, in the form of the typical yellow tinge.

Curry powder is often used sooner in the cooking process than garam masala, which is put towards the end.

The spices in curry powder, like garam masala, vary based on area, but popular additions include coriander, cumin, turmeric, chile peppers, and curry leaf for a stronger taste. Ginger, fenugreek, caraway, fennel seeds, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, and mustard seeds are some more spices that may be used. Garlic might also be included. All of these ingredients combine to create a spice combination that is both savory and sweet, with earthiness and some heat.

Curry powder, like garam masala, is made from scratch by toasting and grinding whole spices; however, if you have a well-stocked pantry, you can make a basic curry powder by combining a teaspoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of ground ginger, a teaspoon of ground black pepper, two teaspoons of ground turmeric, three teaspoons of ground cumin, and two tablespoons of ground coriander. All of these may be combined in a jar and stored for a few months. Other spices may be used for extra taste.

Curry powder does not have the same sweetness and sour taste as garam masala, but since it shares spices, it may be used in lieu of garam masala in almost any recipe. Just substitute the quantity of garam masala indicated with the equivalent amount of curry powder.

Several of the spices in curry powder, such garam masala, may be beneficial to our health. Cinnamon may help diabetics regulate their blood sugar levels; one study found that diabetics who took cinnamon supplements had lower blood sugar levels than those in the study who received a placebo supplement. Cinnamon may also help with weight reduction and a healthy lifestyle.

Coriander seeds may also aid in improved blood sugar management in diabetics, since coriander seems to stimulate the activity of enzymes involved in the removal of sugar from the circulation. While this study has so far been conducted on animals, it seems promise for future human investigations.

Coriander may also assist to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are both risk factors for heart disease. Surprisingly, persons who consume a lot of coriander and other spices had a lower prevalence of heart disease than those who eat a standard western diet.

Turmeric includes curcumin, a chemical that has showed promise in animal anti-cancer trials. Turmeric may also be useful in the treatment of some cardiovascular and neurological illnesses, as well as cystic fibrosis.

Cloves may work as antimicrobials, and a laboratory research found that cloves could kill three common bacteria, including E.coli, a leading source of foodborne disease in the United States. Another research found that cloves might inhibit the development of two bacteria associated to gum disease. A limited number of animal studies indicate that cloves may be effective in the treatment of stomach ulcers.

Piperine, the active component of black pepper, is known to change the metabolism of various supplements and medications, including curcumin (found in turmeric), which it may enhance the availability of in the body by up to 2000%. Piperine seems to have antibacterial properties, and black pepper may have some potential advantages for diabetic blood sugar management, brain health, and anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, evidence for these advantages is now quite sparse.

Scientists are interested in a variety of chemicals found in ginger. Gingerols are among these molecules, and it is possible that they aid lessen nausea feelings, particularly in pregnant women and those undergoing surgery or chemotherapy. Gingerols tend to be anti-inflammatory and may help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Ginger has antimicrobial properties and may be beneficial against illnesses such as the common cold. In the laboratory, ginger was able to block the development of certain bacteria that may cause oral infections, and since it can serve as an anti-inflammatory, it can help ease some of the pain associated with infection, such as sore throats.

3. Cumin and Allspice

Cumin is an old spice with an earthy and toasty bittersweet taste that is used in numerous cuisines, including Indian and North African. Cumin is manufactured from the dried seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant in the parsley family and is used in a variety of mixes including garam masala, curry powder, the typical Middle Eastern blend of baharat, and even chili powder.

Some studies supports the use of cumin in our diets. Cumin may aid digestion and may have some utility in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol levels, as well as having a good influence on blood sugar levels in diabetics. It is also an excellent source of iron.

The dried berries of the Pimenta dioca plant are used to make allspice, newspice, Jamaica pepper, and myrtle pepper. Allspice, which is native to Jamaica and is popular in Latin American, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern cuisines, has tastes similar to nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper, making it an excellent substitution for these spices. It may be used to flavor hot ciders and mulled wines, as well as sweet and savory foods.

Ground allspice loses its perfume and taste quicker than whole allspice, although it is more powerful in ground form than entire berries.

To substitute garam masala, use one part cumin and one-quarter part allspice.

4. Chaat Masala

Chaat masala, another spice mix, may be added by some, however since it is a cooling rather than warming combination of spices, it might give the meal a distinct taste. Chaat masala is created with spices like as cumin, coriander, amchur (dry green mango powder), ginger, asafetida, chile, and salt and has sweet, salty, and acidic qualities.

If you wish to use it as a replacement, start by measuring out the same quantity of chaat masala as garam masala, but instead of adding it all at once, add it a bit at a time and taste as you go. You may discover that you don’t need as much chaat masala as garam masala.

In Conclusion

Garam masala is an excellent spice combination to give flavor to many other meals outside curries. If you don’t have any on hand, as long as you have a well-stocked pantry, you may create a very basic garam masala, or use curry powder (commercial or basic homemade), or cumin and allspice. If you have any on hand, you may also add chaat masala, however this is a cooling rather than warming combination.

Whatever alternative you pick, like with any spice substitution, use caution, as you may not require as much as garam masala to get the same complexity and warmth of tastes.


What can I use instead of garam masala in curry?

Cumin and allspice: When you think about it, this two-part mixture makes sense. The taste of allspice is similar to cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper, and when combined with cumin, it makes a very effective garam masala replacement. Just combine 1 part cumin and 14 parts allspice.

Do you need garam masala to make curry?

If you don’t have garam masala or the spices to build your own mix, a curry powder blend may be used 1:1. The curry mix will add more spice and bitterness and less of the balanced, pleasant taste provided by the garam masala, but it’s a good starting point.

Can I skip garam masala?

If you run out of garam masala, you may create your own by combining cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, coriander, cumin, mace, and bay leaves, or you can use one of the substitutes listed above for a comparable warming taste.

What does garam masala do to a curry?

Garam masala is the king of Indian spices, and it may be found in every Indian home. It is a spicy spice mix that may be used as a cooking spice or as a seasoning at the end of cooking to improve the flavor of a meal.

What is the difference between curry and garam masala?

Garam masala has a stronger, sharper, and more complex taste due to the spices that are customarily used in this combination. Curry powder is often produced with milder spices. Turmeric is not often found in garam masala, although it is a key element in curry powder.

What does garam masala taste like?

How does garam masala taste? Garam masala is a warm, aromatic spice combination with several flavor levels. While no two blends will taste the same, you may expect traces of cinnamon, cloves, or peppercorns. Try a pinch on roasted vegetables—you’ll notice the difference!

Can I substitute cumin for garam masala?

Garam masala is often added towards the conclusion of the cooking process and imparts a warm, zesty, and welcoming scent to the food. Like with many other spices, you may use garam masala in place of cumin by beginning with half the quantity asked for in the recipe and adjusting to taste.

Is garam masala the same as tikka masala?

There are several distinctions between tikka masala and garam masala. One is chicken or tofu cooked in a cream-based sauce, while the other is a combination of five to 10 various spices that creates an excellent deep flavor mix.

What is the difference between garam masala and spices?

Garam means “hot,” while masala means “spices.” Yet, such phrases do not indicate that garam masala is necessarily spicy. They instead allude to the more warming spices included in garam masala mixes, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace.

Can curry powder be used in place of garam masala?

If you’re in a rush and just have a few ingredients on hand, use curry powder as a suitable garam masala substitute. Curry powder may not include the same warming spices, but it does serve to add flavor depth to curry meals.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *