Tuesday, 14 January 2014

What is masala?

Masala is a relative term and I use it a lot in my recipes. It can be wet or dry.

Wet masala is generally a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger and tomato. These ingredients are the mirepoix of south Asian cooking. There are and can be many variants of this which may include a few more or less number of the ingredients. It is generally the flavor base for many curries, stews, soups or even stir fry dishes originating from the Indian sub continent. Normally these ingredients are fried in ghee or any kind of oil/fat in the first stage of cooking and after tenderizing, they are caramelized on low heat. This caramelizing process is called bhunai.

Dry masalas are normally the spice mixes like a curry powder or garam masala etc. The ratios and the number of spices used in the mixes varies from home to home and city to city. Most commonly known and used spices are cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper etc.
Since we have people from different parts of the world here I thought it was necessary to explain some terms which are used in the recipes very often. I hope this little bit of information helps you all in future. Happy Cooking!

Garam Masala

Garam masala is made different for different recipes. Here is the recipe of common garam masala which I use in my every day cooking. You can always increase or decrease the quantities of a particular spice according to your taste. Flavour will vary according to the dominant spice.
Garam Masala


Black pepper                   1/4 cup
Cumin seeds                    1/2 cup
Coriander seeds               1/4 cup
Bay leaf                           2-3
Green cardamom             15 pcs
Black cardamom             2 pcs
Cloves                            1 tbsp
Cinnamon stick                4-5 inch
Nutmeg                           1 pc cracked
Mace                              2 pcs


Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black pepper.
Cool it down and then add everything to your coffee grinder. Make a fine powder.
Store in cool, dark, dry place. It stays fresh for around 2 months.

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