Rich in smell, color and taste: you probably have the same associations with both masala and garam masala. But what about that; is one an abbreviation of the other or are they two completely different terms? And which one do you use for Surinamese roti? Once and for all: the difference between masala and garam masala.
And we can already reveal the conclusion: you don’t want to miss them both.
What is masala?
The originally Arabic word masala is widely used in Southeast Asia. It is a mix of dry spices (ground or not) or a paste, when combined with wet ingredients such as onion or tomato. Masala is thus the umbrella word for many kinds of spice mixtures . Spices such as cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg and coriander seeds can often be found in varying composition. Think chana masala , tikka masala and, yes, garam masala.
Hindu masala, however, is the name for the spice mixture that Hindustanis have taken to Suriname, among other places.
Hindu masala is therefore the spice mixture that serves as the basis for Surinamese roti. Whether it’s roti chicken , roti goat or vegetarian roti, the characteristic spicy taste is due to Hindu masala. But it is also a guaranteed success in other dishes. As in these deviled eggs . Hindu masala owes its characteristic yellow color to turmeric.
What is garam masala?
Masalas -as an umbrella term- can be found in dozens of combinations, one of which is the Indian garam masala. Where garam means ‘hot’. In this case, not spicy, but warming.
The exact proportions and ingredients are often discussed. The heartwarming spice mixture often consists of a mix of (some of) these roasted spices: cloves, star anise, cumin, pepper, coriander seeds, cinnamon, fenugreek and mustard seeds.
Getting started yourself? Make a big stock with this recipe and you’re good for a while.
Once again classic: garam masala is an Indian spice mixture with ingredients other than the yellowish Hindu masala, that of roti. So don’t just exchange one for the other.