I'm wanting my oil to taste of garam masala. At the moment I'm adding a little bit of powder to oil and frying it. The problem is the powder doesnt dissolve and the flavour doesnt seem to go to all parts of the oil in the pan e.g. some of the oil smells like rapeseed oil which is what I'm using.

I do at times add more powder and mix it but then the oil tastes watery and it could be the amount of powder that's causing this.

Anybody know how I can get it right e.g how much powder per tablespoon of oil or how can I get the desired result?



Although many of the important flavours in spices are oil soluble, the spice powders themselves aren't. Some flavour compounds are water soluble and only release when the wet ingredients are added and the dish is cooked.

This is why you're not able to dissolve the spices, and also why you don't always get the full flavour. It's also why you see garam masala in powder or paste (oil-based) format, but not as a flavoured oil.

What can you do about it? You can use a (more) neutral oil so the oil flavour doesn't come through, but when you're testing it's probably as much about mouthfeel as flavour. You can soak the spices in oil overnight, which works best if you toast whole spices yourself, crush them, add the oil on the heat. Then it should be refrigerated and used soon. You can strain the oil through a tea strainer followed by a coffee filter if you really want the oil smooth, but you'll lose a lot of flavour. That's why it's not normally done. You'll need to experiment, as you're trying to do something a little out of the ordinary and only you know what's acceptable for the end result.

  • .. if you really want the oil smooth, but you'll lose a lot of flavour. . The flavour is due to oil. Why straining will lose the flavour ? Won't essence of masala mixed in the oil itself ?
    – Number945
    Aug 14 '18 at 21:13
  • @BreakingBenjamin some of the flavour comes from the oil; much is dissolved in it. But some spice flavours don't dissolve in oil much or at all. Other flavours only exist when the spice has been cooked a little, and only then can they dissolve in the oil
    – Chris H
    Aug 14 '18 at 21:28

I would let it steep overnight in the oil before frying it?

  • 1
    If you have to end an answer with a question mark, it generally is not an answer... ;-)
    – Fabby
    Aug 7 '18 at 1:04
  • And what effect do you think that steeping in the oil will have? It certainly won't cause all the powder to dissolve, as much of it is starch and fibre which isn't soluble in oil (or water). Aug 12 '18 at 18:35

I would make a batter with besan and water and salt and dribble it into the hot fat - gorgeous. As a child we loved to get free batter crumbles from the chip shop - when they skimmed the fat after cooking the fish in the fryer. Sprinkle this over after cooking or stir in the food you wish to fry to get the flavour. I really, really love besan batter.

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