Garam masala is meant to taste sweet. However the powder I use doesnt taste sweet it tastes bland. I imagine this is because the powder has oxidised over time. Is oxidation really that bad that it can turn something like garam masala from sweet into bland and so is the only way to get around this to use fresh ingredients?

Additionaly is it the case that even fresh garam masala isnt really tasty but bland, and so you in order to get any real taste chilli or other sweeteners such as paprika, black pepper etc need to be used?

2 Answers 2


Make your own from whole spices.

Whole spices hang on to their flavor a lot longer than ground. Less surface area in contact with air means less chance for oxidation and flavor loss. Figure out what you like in a garam masala and buy the spices whole then grind them and mix them right before you need them. Another trick for extra flavor with the whole spices - toast them in a hot pan then grind them.


I think we’re up against this mis-interpretation of the word ‘sweet’ again.

Garam masala is a blend of aromatics you add towards the end of cooking. Many of the ingredients are the same as a generic curry powder, but emphasis on aromatics, so you get some elements of those spices in a long cook plus a quick burst of new aroma.

Its shelf life is relatively short, maybe a year, max, once opened.
It’s a simple smell test when you open the jar, the aroma should be huge. As it gets old, the last smell to go will probably be the cloves, the rest just fades to a generic ‘musty’.

  • 3
    +1 for bringing up "add at the end of cooking". No spice will hold their punch if you cook it for long. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 9:27

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