Garam Masala Substitutes

Garam Masala Substitutes

Top 5 Garam Masala Substitutes 

From curries to scrambled eggs, the Indian garam masala is a staple when it comes to warm and fragrant spice blends. Without it, many dishes will just feel bland and incomplete.

The only issue is that you don’t always have enough of it on hand.

But don’t fret.

In this article, we go over some common garam masala substitutes that offer a smooth swap so you can create wonders in your kitchen. Let’s dig in!

Curry Powder

The good old-fashioned curry powder can save you in a pinch, and it’s easily found in most cupboards.

Replacing garam masala substitutes with curry powder is super easy since you don’t have to worry about ratios. Just use an equal amount to what the recipe asks for.

Curry is very similar to garam masala in aroma and texture, but it has an added kick of turmeric that can give your dish a brilliant shade of yellow.

So, watch out for that effect if you don’t want the added color.

Pumpkin Spice

Since it has cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom, pumpkin spice works as a sweet but spicy seasoning.

The nutmeg in most pumpkin spice blends is a close enough substitute for the mace in the garam masala. In fact, they’re both products of the same plant!

Thankfully, this substitution is also a 1:1 switch, so don’t bother with the conversion and the calculations.

However, pumpkin spice is typically sweeter. To kick this sugary flavor down a notch, add some extra black pepper to the mix.

Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkin Spice

Chaat Masala

While not all Indian spices are created equal, you can probably get away with swapping garam with chaat masala.

Although the flavor profiles are close, you need to use only a quarter of the required amount of garam masala.

Remember that chaat is almost always the bolder blend of the two, thanks to the sour and smoky tinges of black salt.

The only downside is the sulfury smell. You can add aromatic herbs to tone the scent down.

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Sambar Masala

Sambar masala is more common in southern Indian cuisine, and it has a limited range of applications.

In most pre-mixed spices, the cinnamon side is heavier in the sambar masala than other similar Indian blends.

The sambar blend is also significantly spicier since it relies a lot on roasted red chilies along with a smaller amount of lentils.

If you don’t like your food overly spicy, mix in sprinkles of the sambar masala gradually and adjust the ratio to taste.

Powered Chicken Tikka Masala Packet

Chicken masala is a famous Indian meal that may be used to make garam masala. It is a sauce made with tomato, chicken, and cream, as well as customary Indian spices.

It has garam masala in its composition, making it an acceptable substitute. The tastes have been characterized as “heavenly,” with a rich and earthy aroma

Cumin Spice
Cumin Spice

Allspice and Cumin

Allspice is one of the most versatile spice blends you can get out there. It has cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and clove.

On its own, allspice can miss the mark on the warming sweet tinge that you get with the traditional garam masala.

To fix this, try adding a lot of cumin to the mix. The blend should end up being more cumin than allspice.

Use a quarter of a spoon of allspice blends for every spoon of cumin. All in all, the switch ratio relative to garam masala depends on the intensity of the final blend.

Fenugreek Plus Cloves

To replace garam masala, combine, fenugreek, and cloves. Put everything in a small saucepan over low heat and then in a blender to make a fine powder.

The fragrances of all these spices will combine to form a pleasant combination. It goes well with veggies, meat stews, poultry, and anything else that calls for garam masala. 

Can add some nutmeg or cinnamon for extra taste and aroma.

Mustard seeds with Curry Leaves

Last but not least, we have a curry leaf and mustard seed combo. A teaspoon of mustard seeds and around 12 curry leaves are used to make this garam masala replacement

Just gently cook them in a skillet on low heat until they become fragrant and you can crush them into a powder. 
This Combo garam masala alternative goes well with fish, shellfish, sauces and dressings, and other Garam masala-based dishes.

DIY Garam Masala Substitute

There are a few additional combinations that may be used in instead of garam masala in your cuisine. You can mix and match:

12 teaspoon roasted cumin and black peppercorns
3 parts coriander, 1 part cinnamon
14 teaspoon cloves, cardamom, coconut, nutmeg, and cinnamon

Cooking the spices before producing the powder adds complexity and depth to the flavor, making it even more delectable.

Garam Masala Powder vs Paste

Among the many spice mixes prevalent across India, each mixture may be found in two forms: powder or paste.

The powdered spice variety is most likely what you’ll find in the US. It is essentially a powdered blend of several spices which is used in the same manner as other dry seasonings.

Garam masala paste is created by combining the spice powder with water, coconut water or vinegar. The paste tends to be more popular.

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