Garam vs Tandoori: Difference and Comparison

“Masala” translates to “spice combination.” Garam masala and tandoori masala are both tasty, spicy mixtures used in Indian cuisine. However, they contain different substances and are used in different ways. 

The bright spice combinations known as masala are essential to Indian cuisine. This Hindi word indicates both spice and spice mixture. Spices have been used in India for thousands of years.

Even today, India is the world’s top producer of spices—but it doesn’t only export them. The domestic spice market in India is the world’s largest. Garam masala is one of the most popular spice blends in Indian cooking.

Tandoori masala adds a distinct flavour to items cooked in a tandoor or clay oven. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Garam refers to a blend of ground spices commonly used in Indian cuisine, while tandoori is a cooking method utilizing a clay oven called a tandoor.
  2. Tandoori dishes are marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, including garam masala, which gives them a distinct flavor and color.
  3. Garam masala is a versatile spice blend used in various dishes, whereas tandoori is specifically associated with dishes cooked in a tandoor.

Garam vs Tandoori

Garam refers to a blend of spices commonly used in Indian cuisine. The word garam means hot or heating in Hindi, but in this context, it refers to a combination of herbs. Tandoori refers to a cooking style traditionally used in the northern regions of India. The word tandoori comes from the name of the clay oven (tandoor) that is used for cooking. 

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Garam masala is one of the most popular spice blends in Indian cuisine. The spices used to make garam masala vary from region to region, depending on the people’s preferences. It is used in almost all of the North Indian curries. 

Tandoori masala is used to marinate meats before cooking in a tandoor, which is a clay oven. Garam masala is also a common element in tandoori masala.

Tandoori masala is an Indian spice blend used to marinate the meat before cooking it in a tandoor, a clay oven. Masala is an Indian spice combination. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison GaramTandoori
Uses It is added after the dish has been cooked while it’s still hot. It is used to marinate meat or vegetables. 
It has earth flavours. It has a sour, salty, and hot flavour. Colour 
It makes no colour change to the dishes it is added to. It makes the dish reddish because it has paprika, turmeric, and artificial food coloring. It is derived from the “body warming” spices used in Garam Masala. 
Foods It is used in almost all North Indian curries. It is never used in gravy. 
Derivations It is derived from the “body warming” spices that are used in Garam Masala. It is derived from an Indian clay oven that is called the tandoor. 
Spices Coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cumin seeds, Garlic and ginger powder, nutmeg, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, mace, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin, black and green cardamom. 

What is Garam? 

Garam masala is commonly used to season cooked foods. Garam masala is frequently used towards the conclusion of preparation to add flavour. 

Garam masala is used in tiny amounts to season prepared foods.

Garam masala consists of coriander, cumin, cloves, black cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, nutmeg, and mace, though the proportions and spices vary depending on the area. 

Garam Masala does not affect the colour of the curry to which it is added. It merely imparts earthy aromas and flavours. Garam Masala spices are occasionally used whole and added to heated oil at the beginning.

This is done so that the essential oils and flavours of the whole spices can be released into the boiling oil. 

Garam masala is frequently added in small amounts after the food has been cooked, generating a spicy aroma rather than boosting the flavour. Garam masala is used in powder form in North Indian cuisine. 

Garam masala originated in North India and is India’s most popular dry spice blend. It varies greatly depending on the locale and the cook. Clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cardamom are common spices.

Cumin, coriander, pepper, and nigella seeds are also common ingredients.  

garam masala

What is Tandoori? 

Tandoori masala can be produced with the same spices as garam masala or with a pre-made garam masala blend. 

Tandoori masala may also include red peppers or red food colouring to give it a pinkish to bright red hue. It is a powerful spice blend since it contains hot chilli pepper. 

Tandoori masala is an Indian spice blend used as a rub for meats, poultry, or fish roasted in a hot, clay tandoori oven. The spice blend can also be used in several stews and other Indian meals like Guchi Mattar.  

Tandoori masala includes all of the spices found in garam masala, ginger powder, garlic powder, kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), and some red colour.

Because of the presence of paprika, turmeric, and sometimes artificial food colouring gives the meal a reddish hue. Tandoori masala is always used powdered, and spices are never used whole. 

Tandoori masala is commonly used to season items cooked in a tandoor or clay oven. On the other hand, housewives can use it for dishes prepared on the stove or in the oven.

Because of the food colouring, commercially available tandoori masala is frequently red.  

tandoori masala

Main Differences Between Garam and Tandoori

  1. Garam masala is added after the dish has been cooked while it’s still hot. Tandoori masala is used to marinate meats or vegetables. 
  2. Garam masala has earthy flavours, and tandoori masala has a sour, salty, and hot taste. 
  3. Garam masala makes no colour change to the dishes, whereas tandoori masala makes the dish reddish because it has paprika, turmeric, and artificial food colouring. 
  4. Garam masala is used in almost all North Indian curries, whereas tandoori masala is never used in gravy.
  5. The name for garam masala is derived from the “body warming” spices used in Garam Masala. Tandoori masala is derived from an Indian clay oven called the tandoor. 
  6. The spices used to make garam masala are Coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, and cumin seeds. The spices used to make tandoori masalas are garlic and ginger powder, nutmeg, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, mace, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin, black and green cardamom
Difference Between Garam and Tandoori

References 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713513004738 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674908016734 

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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