Perhaps you have a bottle of garam masala in the cupboard, and you’re wondering, do I really need to add it to my curry? The answer is yes, yes you do.
Garam masala is a warm and fragrant spice that turns your dishes from bland to grand! It is a combination of other beautiful spices to create a floral, sort-of sweet, and a hint of heat flavor to food.
You can even make your own mixture of garam masala!
What Should Garam Masala Taste Like?
First, let’s discuss what garam masala is.
Garam masala is a well-known North Indian spice that is used to bring flavor to soup, curries, stews, and much more. You can buy garam masala already blended from your grocery store or mix your blend with whole spices.
The name ‘garam masala’ translates to warm or hot spices, but its flavors are not really spicy. It is mixed with flavors such as cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, and cinnamon (it can include more!).
This blend is meant to hit different tastes, such as warm, earthy, sweet, and even floral. It gets its spiciness from the black pepper. If you’ve been using your own mix, the flavor can vary from recipe to recipe.
It’s unlikely that you’d have the same combination twice if you make it at home, buy it from the store, and try it at a restaurant.
Not only does garam masala provide a range of tastes, but it also provides a nice, homely smell to your food, making it smell delicious and get mouths watering. While its cousins, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, remind you of only curry, garam masala is not fiery hot.
You can find garam masala in powder form (most used), or you can form it into a paste using coconut milk, water, or vinegar. Garam masala can be used with other spices as well.
How to Use Garam Masala In Cooking
Garam masala is a versatile seasoning that can basically be added to ANY dish. When cooking with garam masala, it’s always best to add it at the end.
Experiment with combinations and find which you like best!
Garam Masala Dry Rub For Meat
This spice adds a strong but not overpowering flavor to meat and chicken. Garam masala can be used on its own or combined with other seasonings such as salt, pepper, coriander, and onion powder. Mix it all in a bowl and rub it on the surface of meat or chicken.
Don’t forget to coat it in olive oil first! Allow to soak for 30 minutes before cooking.
Liven Up Your Soup!
Garam masala is a pleasant spice to add to any soup. From chickpea soup to normal vegetable soup, a pinch between your fingers will give it the kick that it needs. Stir your soup properly and add as much as your taste buds would like.
Make Your Chili Unique
Shake it up by adding garam masala to a traditional mix of spices in chili. Whether you add meat or vegetables to the chili, garam masala definitely will give it a positive twist.
For double flavor, rub garam masala on the vegetables or meat before cooking the chili. Let these sit for half an hour, so they take in that flavor.
Side Dishes – Make Your Vegetable Pop!
Garam masala goes well with vegetables and gives them that warm flavor you’re looking for. Simply put all the vegetables in the bowl and add 1 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil, so your spices stick to the veggies.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of garam masala over the vegetables and mix thoroughly to ensure all of them get a good coating of spice. You can do this with raw or roasted veggies, but roasted ones will absorb the spice better.
Put 1 teaspoon of garam masala into your extra virgin olive oil to make a tasty, unique salad dressing. You can also put other spices, such as salt and pepper, and mix them together. Drizzle over a salad of your choice.
This goes with any salad, but garam masala pairs really well with carrots and lentils.
Baked Potatoes With An Indian Twist
Sometimes we get bored of baked potatoes with the same flavor over and over again. But you can give it a brand-new taste with a little Indian magic. You can mix garam masala in the potatoes before baking them or sprinkle a pinch when they’re done.
You can add the spice to mashed potatoes or mix it into sour cream that you usually put on top of baked/mashed potatoes.
Shhh! Garam masala can be your very own secret ingredient! It’s definitely mine.
Let’s Make Our Own Blend Of Garam Masala!
Garam masala is a mixture of various spices that can be found in almost all supermarkets, but sometimes we like to add our own touch to it.
Below is a basic recipe for a blend of garam masala.
- Cinnamon stick, broken up
- 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons green cardamom seeds
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
What you need to do:
1. Heat your pan on medium heat and toast the cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander seeds for 10 minutes. Stir it often until it becomes toasted and fragrant. Let cool.
2. Combine this with the remaining ingredients, then grind it using a coffee grinder. Let cool again, then store in an airtight container to maintain flavor.
*You don’t have to toast the spices; however, more flavor is brought out when you do!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are garam masala and curry powder identical?
These spice blends are used to add flavor and color to food, but they have different tastes.
Garam masala has a sharper, stronger, and more complex flavor profile based on the spices that are usually used to make it. Curry powder is usually made with milder spices. Garam masala does not contain turmeric, which is one of the main ingredients in curry powder.
Can I use garam masala in baking?
Yes! Although it’s usually used in savory dishes, garam masala contains baking spices that can work well in certain sweet treats. Try a garam masala biscuit recipe here!