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Biryani Masala vs Garam Masala, What's The DIfference?

India has been the house of spices for centuries. There are lot of different spices used in Indian cuisine. And not just regular spices, people have started using organic spices in India since many spice manufacturers prepare the spices with adulterants which are very toxic in nature.

But there are two spice mixes that have become very popular in recent years are Biryani Masala & Garam Masala

Both the masala blends use a lot of Indian spices and quite a few of them are common in both the blends. The recipes or formula for both the masalas are traditional, but, make no mistake these are two distinct masalas.

Biryani is a traditional yet extravagant delicacy that is made for special occasions. But that’s not the case with Garam Masala. It can be used in almost every Indian Dish.

But what’s the difference between these two spice blends?  Let’s understand one by one.

What Is Biryani Masala?

Biryani masala is a blend of aromatic spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, rose petals and mace etc. It’s used to bring flavor and specially aroma in your dish. 

The spices that are used in making this masala are quite unique, and their proportions are also critical. This masala doesn't have a lot of sharpness to it. 

This is also the reason why, when preparing Biryani, we use extra green chilies and red chilli powder to enhance the spiciness. But that is optional. 

Regarding the preparation of this masala, there is no specific recipe that may be used.

Since there are several varieties of Biryanis in India, you will notice many interesting variations in its ingredients ratio

Ingredients List:

Coriander, Fennel, Cumin, Poppy seeds, Caraway seeds, Red Chilli, All Spice, Bay Leaves, Star Anise, Mace, Cloves, Stone Flower, Green Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Black Cardamom, Long Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger Powder, Garlic powder, Dried Mint, Rose petals

What is Garam Masala

It is also a very famous masala in Indian kitchens. 

Garam masala is a blend of warming spices like black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg. It’s used to add flavor and heat to dishes like Rajma, Chole, Dals etc.

You can even use garam masala for making Biryanis if you like to have spiciness along with aroma. 

Many chefs prefer adding a bit of Garam Masala to their Biryani preparations but that’s completely individual’s choice.

Garma Masala Ingredients List

Coriander, Fennel, Cumin, Caraway seeds, Bay Leaves, Star Anise, Mace, Cloves, Green Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Black Cardamom, Nutmeg, Ginger Powder, Rose petals

You may have also noted that the spices used in this masala mix are similar to those used in biryani masala.

The ratio of these spices is where the main difference is found.

Now, let’s understand the differences between Biryani Masala and Garam Masala. 

Key Differences: Biryani Masala vs Garam Masala

1. Appearance:

Biryani Masala usually has light brown colour. But if it is adultrated it can be dark in colour as well. 

On the other hand, Garam Masala always have a slightly dark brown appearance as all the ingredients used in this masala are first roasted before grinding them.

2. Smell:

The pleasant aroma of Biryani Masala truly unbeatable. 

Contrarily, Garam Masala has a sharp smell that makes it better for seasoning food. 

You must use garam masala carefully since it won't give your food a fragrant flavour. 

But it may undoubtedly give your preparation additional depth and warmth.

3. Texture and Feel:

Biryani masala often has rough texture as it is not finely grounded. Since this masala is used to add aroma in the biryani, it’s ingredients should be remained semi-grounded.

Whereas, Garam masala is finely grounded and smooth texture which makes it absorbed easily in your curries.

4. Cooking Style:

Biryani Masala should be used while cooking the biryani and not be used to garnish.

Contrarily, there are two methods to utilize garam masala.

It can be added when preparing the curry or tadka and used as a garnish once the meal is completely cooked.

We use it in the initial step to draw out the tastes of the spices. In second stage, it simply gives the meal a just a little bit aroma. 

5. Price:

Biryani masala is slightly expensive as compared to garam masala. They are both made from a blend of aromatic spices, but the proportions of each spice vary. Biryani masala is generally more complex, with more spices being used in smaller quantities. Garam masala, on the other hand, is made with fewer spices that are used in larger quantities

6. Uses

The Biryani Masala is used specifically for Pulaos, Biryanis and other rice dishes. It cannot be used with other regular dishes.

While Garam masala can be used with almost all dishes. It is not limited to any specific recipe. 

It is more common than Biryani Masala.