Masala vs Curry
Masala and Curry are two popular terms used in the Indian cuisine that show some difference between them. At the same time, both these words are often confused because people who are not familiar with Indian cuisine do not know what each term mean. Without an understanding of that, one cannot differentiate one from the other. Curry refers to a cooked vegetable or meat with spices and salt. On the other hand, masala is a kind of mixed spices used in a curry to add more flavor and taste to it. This is the main difference between the words masala and curry.
What is Curry?
A curry is a cooked vegetable, meat or seafood with spices and salt. Curry, on the other hand, is mainly of two types, the vegetarian curry and the non-vegetarian curry. The vegetarian curry comprises of curry made out of vegetables and mushroom, lentils, paneer, etc. On the other hand, the non-vegetarian curry comprises of curry made out of meat, chicken, fish and the like. It is generally said that a curry is a fried item, and it requires a lot of oil in its preparation. However, this is not entirely true as only some curries use a lot of oil and frying. There are those curries that use coconut milk to cook. These curries are not that spicy. You can choose to make them spicy if you want. A curry becomes spicy and hot on account of the addition of spicy items such as masala, chilly, and the like.
What is Masala?
Masala is a reddish color spice mix that is used to add more flavors to a dish. It can be said that masala can be added to curry in order to add taste to it. A curry becomes spicy by the addition of masala. There are various kinds of masala, each adding to the taste of curry and other preparations in its own way. Some of the types of masala should be used for vegetable dishes and some of them should be used for meat and chicken. It is interesting to note that masala is added to packed food items like noodles and the like. It is up to the customer to choose the type of masala. On the other hand, masala is prepared by the combination of spices, nuts, cereals and the like. For example, spices like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorn, shahjeera, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, dried ginger, bay leaves, and grams and cereals are used in the making and the preparation of masala. It is a nutrient rich food. It has to be added to the preparation just provide the extra taste.
What is the difference between Masala and Curry?
• Curry refers to a cooked vegetable, meat, or seafood with spices and salt. On the other hand, masala is a kind of mixed spices used in a curry to add more flavor and taste to it. This is the main difference between the terms masala and curry.
• A curry becomes spicy and hot on account of the addition of spicy items such as masala, chilly, and the like. On the other hand, masala is prepared by the combination of spices, nuts, cereals, and the like.
• Masala is essentially a bit spicy. A curry can be spicy or not. That is according to your taste.
• There are two main types of curry as vegetarian curry and non-vegetarian curry. There are different types of masala too. These different types of masalas are added to different dishes such as vegetable, meat and fish.
• Masala is made by toasting or frying the spices and herbs in oil or ghee until they darken a little in color (they have to release their aromatic oil too). Then, the mixture is cooled and ground to a powder or a paste. Curry is made by adding different ingredients and frying or using coconut milk to cook.
• Curries come in different colors depending on what you are cooking and the spices you add. Masala is reddish or brownish in color.
• Masala is added at the final stages to cooking. If added early, some ingredients of masala gets bitter. To make a good curry, what you are cooking and also the time you cook matters. For example, meat curry should be cooked for a longer time for the spices to mix properly.
These are the differences between curry and masala.
- Fish curry prepared in Kerala style by Kalakki (CC BY-SA 2.5)
- Garam Masala ingredients via Wikicommons (Public Domain)