Masalas: Indian cuisine

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Masalas: Indian cuisine

Traditional masalas for a delightful meal

The Times of India

Masala magic

In most Indian cuisines, the secret lies in the masala. Add that to the freshest catch of the sea, and you have yourself a scrumptious meal with robust flavours and a fiery temperament. While textures and spice notes vary vastly from region to region, each community too, blends in their own technique and ingredients to give it their distinguished touch. Three such communities give us a taste of their traditional masalas, easy enough to try and delightful enough to bottle. East Indian masala

Known for their bottled masalas, East Indians are known to be guarded about their traditional methods and ingredients making them difficult to source. Quite often, women bottle and sell home-made masalas, almost never over the counter, to those who don't have the time. These go through a long arduous process of grinding and roasting before being powdered and preserved. This is an easier sample.

Anthony Maroo, Food enthusiast and trainee chef


75 gms Black peppercorns 35 gms Green cardamoms 75 gms Taj (ceylon cinnamon) 25 gms Cloves 15 gms Black cardamoms 15 gms Nagkesar (casia buds) 15 gms Shahi jeera (black cumin) 15 gms Whole asafoetida (hing) 1 kg Dried red chillies 250 gms Coriander seeds 25 gms Whole turmeric 15 gms Mace 1 no Nutmeg 15 gms Maipatri (Mugwort) 15 gms Star anise 13 gms Sichuan pepper 15 gms Indian bay leaf 75 gms Cumin seeds 25 gms Mustard seeds 75 gms Poppy seeds 75 gms Sesame seeds 14 gms Fennel seeds


Saute the ingredients either individually in little oil or dry roast them over medium heat. Once heated, they will release intense aromas and flavour. Grind this to a fine mix. Be sure to crush larger pieces of asafoetida, turmeric and nutmeg into smaller bits before roasting. Cool the mixture and store in air-tight bottles. Add to any vegetarian or non-vegetarian curry preparation for best results.

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