Curry Powder and Garam Masala

As you progress along your journey of discovery through the world of Indian cooking, you are bound to bump into this little conundrum at some point.

Is there a difference between Curry Powder and Garam Masala? They are both Indian spice blends, right?

Right. But that’s about where the similarity ends.


Freshly ground Curry Powder


Curry Powder is a gentle, versatile spice mix. You probably have some in your spice drawer right now – sprinkle on eggs or add to a creamy soup for a pop of flavour. You might’ve even used it to make a curry.  

This mix makes a great starting point for many curries. It is usually a combination of ground up coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chilli, turmeric and mustard seeds plus other spices depending on the brand. 

Interestingly, you will rarely find Curry Powder in a traditional Indian kitchen. Instead, you will find a spice box or a ‘masale-dani’. This spice box has many little jars containing small quantities of frequently used spices that get added into the dish individually.  

Freshly ground Garam Masala

Garam Masala on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. It is a potent combination of warming spices that add heat and depth to a dish. It is usually made with Cloves, Star anise, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Black pepper, nutmeg, bay leaves and other intensely flavoured spices. 

This masala packs a punch but must be handled with care. It is usually added towards the end of the recipe or for finishing the dish, though some recipes will add it earlier.

Most Indian kitchens will have some version of branded or home made ready-to-use Garam Masala. The trick is to lightly roast the spices to release their oils before grinding them. 

Too much Garam Masala can easily ruin a curry. Over cooking will make it bitter. But just the right amount will add magical layers of complexity and flavour to your dish.

Are Curry Powder and Garam Masala interchangeable? 

Short answer, no. In a pinch you could use Curry Powder if you don’t have Garam Masala on hand, but not the other way around.

If you have any other questions about this or other aspects of Indian cooking, please leave a comment below. Or ask on our Facebook page.

Happy cooking!

Spicecraft Ingredients

Ever wonder why food made with jars and packets from the supermarket never tastes as good as the real thing? It is all about the quality of ingredients and freshness of spices. You can’t make beautiful Indian food without quality ingredients.

At Spicecraft we carefully source our ingredients from trusted suppliers from around the world depending on where they grow best.

No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives ever.

Consider the spices that go into the marinade. Kashmiri red chilli gives the dish it’s vibrant red colour and a deep smoky heat without being fiery hot. This chilli is grown in the northern parts of India.

Mace and Cardamom found in Butter Chicken Sauce Pack 2 are all about fragrance and flavour. These aromatic spices go in later in the cooking process to preserve their delicate essence.

Then you have the earthy punchiness of Fenugreek leaves

Fenugreek leaves (called Kasuri Methi in Hindi) have a slightly bitter taste. This is essential to create that distinctive balance of flavours that makes Butter Chicken one of the best loved curries in the world.

The salt in the spice mixes is Himalayan rock salt known for its purity and health benefits.

For the Saffron Rice we give you a small pinch of Grade 1 Persian Sargol saffron – the most expensive spice in the world, and aged Premium long grained Basmati Rice grown only in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Sargol Saffron comes from Iran and costs more than pure Gold by weight. This is because this grade consists only of the deep red tips of the stamens of saffron flowers.

Extracting and preserving these strands is a careful and time consuming process. It takes over 100,000 individual saffron flowers to make a single gram of the spice.

Fortunately just a few threads of this potent spice are enough to infuse our rice with that golden glow.

Basmati Rice is the quiet hero of the Spicecraft Butter Chicken Meal kit. Cooked properly it is the perfect vehicle for enjoying your Butter Chicken.

Much like fine wine, premium quality Basmati Rice improves with age. The crop is stored in grain silos for up to 2 years before hitting the market. The aging process gives the grains a creamy yellow colour. This makes for perfectly cooked rice that is aromatic, long grained, light and fluffy.

Each spice in the kit tells a story. They are then blended in exactly the right proportion to take you to Butter Chicken perfection.