Indian Cooking with Garam Masala: Things to Know

Garam Masala is made of two words – garam (hot) and masala (spice). This spice blend is extensively used in the Indian subcontinent. The masala mix is made of more than 10 different spices and used only in a small quantity.

Garam masala powder is used either while tempering or at the end of cooking. It is usually used with other spice powders and seasonings.

Garam masala powder offers a pungent but not a fiery chilli flavour.  If cooked for a long time or used in a greater quantity, its strong flavour can overpower a dish.

Hence, use only a small amount of garam masala powder for the valuable touch that it can bring to your recipe.

Garam masala powder is readily available in a grocery shop. However, preparing it at home brings a different kind of pleasure.

In fact, many homemakers prefer to make it at home. It is really easy to make in an electric blender. Make a bulk of it; garam masala won’t go bad in a few months.

Garam masala powder contains the following ingredients:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom (black, brown and green)
  • Cloves
  • Long pepper (also called shah pippali)
  • Long cumin (shah jeera)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Bay leaves
  • Coriander seeds
  • Nutmeg
  • Star anise
  • Mace

Uses of Garam Masala in Indian Cuisines

Cooking with Garam Masala

Indians are fond of spicy dishes. Whether it is veg dishes or non-veg recipes, they prefer lots of flavours.

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Garam masala offers a complexity of flavours that go well with many non-veg delicacies and some veg delights as well.

In Bengal, garam masala is used in potato-cauliflower curry, dhokar dalna, paneer makhani, aloor dum, lauer kofta, and several other rich, royal, flavour-dense dishes.

Do you think pindi chole, mirchi ki salon will taste the same without garam masala? I doubt it!

If it comes to non-veg dishes, the list is a long one. Garam masala, though used in a small quantity, makes distinct flavours dance together and turn even a simple dish into a flavourful delight.

From easy-to-make mutton rezala to complex chicken butter masala, awadh biryani to nargisi kofta, haleem to nihari gosht and many more will fail to pamper our palate without divine garam masala flavour.

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Garam masala brings everything, from kebab to kofta, to a flavourful life.

Hence, India’s rich and royal cuisine is always indebted to its powerful pungency.

Questions & Answers

What is Garam Masala Used For?

Garam Masala is used to add some extra flavor to make the whole dish very rich and flavorful.  The goodness of all the flavors is inserted into it to make a wonderful combination.

What Does Garam Masala Add to a Dish?

Garam Masala adds an extra zeal to each dish. It makes the dish more enriched with different flavors.

When Should You Put Garam Masala in a Curry?

At the end when the curry is done then you actually put the garam masala in the curry.

Can You Eat Garam Masala Raw?

No, we can not eat garam masala raw but we can definitely eat the elaichi or cardamom, pepper, cloves, cinnamon as raw.

How Much Garam Masala Should You Add?

As per the quantity you are cooking, you should calculate the amount and then apply only a pinch of Garam Masala little more than the salt.

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Is Tikka Masala the Same as Garam Masala?

No tikka masala and garam masala are not the same. Tikka masala will give you a spicy yet a tangy or thrilling note on the other hand garam masala is enriched with flavors to make the dish much more enhanced.

Is Garam Masala Bitter?

Garam Masala is not bitter but you can say it has a strong flavor of its own.


Garam masala is a spice blend extensively used in the Indian subcontinent, made of over 10 different spices and offering a pungent but not fiery chilli flavour.

It is used in a small quantity while tempering or at the end of cooking, and its strong flavour can overpower a dish if used in large quantities.

It is readily available in grocery shops, but many homemakers prefer to make it at home.

Garam masala adds an extra zeal and richness to dishes and is a staple in Indian cuisine.

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