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Curry Powder vs Masala

Curry Powder vs Masala

Have you ever wondered what the difference between curry powder and masala is? Well wonder no more because we are about to break down the difference between the two.

Originally curry was an umbrella term that refers to the cuisine of southeast Asia more famously from the Indian sub-continent, however it has become associated with spice blends added to proteins and vegetables to become a household favourite throughout the world.
Countries in the rest of the world often adapt their own regional foods using spice blends to make their own versions of curry. In South Africa Chakalaka is an example of this type of adaptation.

Both garam masala and curry powder are used as curry spice to add flavour to a dish. The essential differences of the one is a standard base and the other is made up of a typical blend of spices.

Curry powders vary depending on preference but overall, they generally include a blend of spices which typically include turmeric, coriander, chilli powder, pepper, cumin and ginger with the occasional addition of bay leaves, fennel and mustard powder. This blend of spices is rich and deeply flavourful. Curry powder is extremely versatile and generally simpler. You can use a premixed curry powder straight or toast it to release some deeper flavours.

Masala, although premixed is generally used as a base of spices and often requires the addition of other flavours to provide a complete and authentic flavour. Masala is loosely translated as “spice” and although there are many varieties and preferences masala is typically made up of 5 spices. Cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cloves and cumin are mixed together to make an aromatic and flavour profile. Masala usually requires the building of flavours slowly and although it can be deeply flavourful, it generally takes more time.

Ultimately both curry powder and masala are blended spice mixes that can be added to food to pack a spicy and aromatic kick. In the end, the difference boils down to the different mix of spices, masala being more of a warming aromatic blend and curry powder being more of an earthy blend.

To make the most of your curry powder, visit our recipes section for some inspiration.

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