Spice Blend: Madras Curry Paste

Madras Curry Paste 1

Indian spice blends, collectively known as ‘Masalas’, can be dry powders or ‘wet’ pastes. Typically, pastes are made by combining dry powdered spices with a liquid (vinegar especially) and then either using as is, or else storing after cooking the paste in oil until the blending liquid evaporates out.

About two years ago, I posed my recipe for a Madras Curry Powder and, today, I used the basic recipe, with some additions, to make a paste…

In my original post, I outlined what my research revealed to be the common primary, secondary and tertiary spices used in Madras blends. To do that, I did a metadata analysis of a large number of recipes and sorted the results. I lost my original notes some time ago but I re-did the research and show it here, below…

Madras Curry Paste 2

I looked at a large number of recipes both from cookery books, websites and the ingredient lists of commercial preparations. After winnowing out those that closely duplicated others I found, and discarding those that strayed to far afield from the traditional, I selected 30 recipes. I then made note of all the spices used and did a count of how frequently a given spice occurred across my sample group.

 

Madras Curry Paste 3

For today, I started with my basic Madras Curry Powder recipe and then added 3 tablespoons more chili powder (the cooking process mellows the heat a little), along with a tablespoon of fresh ginger paste, and two tablespoons of garlic paste. I made this into a paste with ¾ of a cup of Vinegar.

 

Madras Curry Paste 4

I used 2/3 of a cup of oil stirred in to ‘cook’ my paste (and discovered that a cup would have been better). The idea is to heat the blend over moderate heat, constantly stirring, until the vinegar evaporates, the mass begins to clump away from the sides of the pot, and some of the oil starts to separate out.

After cooling, you can store the paste for future use. If storing for an extended period, it is a good idea to make the surface is covered by a layer of oil and, if necessary you can add a little more. It actually keeps quite well in the cupboard but I tend to put mine in the fridge to preserve maximum flavor.

Use as with any Indian Masala paste…

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