New Food Friday – Garam Masala

8 Feb

If you are an Indian food lover you will be very familiar with garam masala. For those who are not, garam masala is the spice (or spice mixture) that is on the agenda for today’s New Food Friday.


Garam Masala, front row left (Photo credit: tonymz)

I was interested in a Tex-Mex recipe on a fellow blogger’s blog and that’s what motivated me to tell you about garam masala.

The recipe looked good but I knew I did not have garam masala in my pantry. I had looked for it before at my local Meijer but I couldn’t find it. When I went grocery shopping again, I lucked out because McCormick Garam Masala was on sale.

What is garam masala?

Garam masala is a Punjabi, or Northern Indian style curry powder. It is also used in some Nepalese and Asian cooking.

Spices -

Curry, second row left; garam masala next to it. –

Garam masala is a combination of spices that is used often in Indian cooking. It has many uses. You can use it as a rub for meats, in salad dressings, vegetables, breads, cookie recipes, and more. It is often used as a garnish and reminds me of basil in that sense because both are sprinkled on at the end of the cooking process to preserve their oils and special flavors.

In McCormick’s Garam Masala the ingredients are: cardamon, cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, and coriander.

Garam Masala

McCormick Garam Masala

There are many versions of garam masala and many chefs and home cooks make their own version. 

What is the difference between garam masala and curry powder?

In the definition given by A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, curry powder is a turmeric-based spice mixture. - tijmen - Curry Powder

Curry Powder – – tijmen

Another common ingredient in yellow curry and other curries popular in the West is mustard seed.

Indians refer to their spice mixtures as masalas. Besides garam masala, other types of masalas include chat masala, kala masala and dansak masala.  The word curry, coined by the British and derived from the word kari from the Tamil language of South India. Read more:

I have curry powder in my pantry and I rarely use it. After using garam masala, I prefer the garam masala. You can find garam masala in supermarkets, natural food stores, or Indian markets.


Spice Bazaar – sxc-hu-lize-rixt

What else can you tell us about garam masala, Marcella?

Garam Masala is also a Bollywood movie!

Garam Masala (film)

Garam Masala (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watch it on youtube! Here’s the link: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


11 Responses to “New Food Friday – Garam Masala”

  1. soulofspice February 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Love your post.. esp. the movie clip at the end..I only lately found out that garam masala doesn’t really bring the spicy notch up,, it does produce a heating effect internally…


    • Marcella Rousseau February 13, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      Thank you : – ) McCormick’s garam masala is not what I would call spicy. However, there are a lot of versions of this spice combination and some could be spicy!


  2. P. C. Zick February 9, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I’ll have to try it. I’ve been wanting to cook an Indian meal. I usually use curry powder so thanks for the distinction. However, I’ve been into turmeric lately because I’ve just discovered it healing properties. I didn’t realize garam masala didn’t contain turmeric.


    • Marcella Rousseau February 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

      Garam Masala may contain turmeric. It’s just that McCormick’s garam masala does not. There are a lot of versions of garam masala. I’ve been using turmeric lately too – at least until I started using the garam masala.


  3. silverbells2012 February 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    my ex-husband is from Pakistan and did use curry powder rather than garam masala but i’m not sure what his family in Pakistan use. i don’t use garam masala myself as i learned to make curries with him the UK. a very interesting post!


  4. Peri's Spice Ladle February 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Wonderful post on Garam Masala, a must have spice blend in any Indian kitchen:) One important difference in Garam Masala and the concept of a ‘Curry Powder’ is that you’ll rarely find the later one in an Indian kitchen! Congrats on your in depth research and finding the Bollywood film with that name!

    Thanks for trying out our Tex-Mex Chili with an Indian touch to it…this dish been a staple at our home since we got to Texas many years back:) Just good ole comfort food!


    • Marcella Rousseau February 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Thank you. It was easier than you might think to find the movie. I was very surprised! But then, my favorite Italian cold cut, Mortadella, is also a movie. The star is Sophia Loren by the way! lol! Love the dish and I can’t wait to try it with lamb. Thank you for stopping by.



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