Posted in Herbs and Spices

Spice Blend: Lemon-Cardamom Masala

Lemon-Cardamom Masala 1

A few years back, I posted a recipe for Cardamom-Lemon Chicken that I very much liked and I have long wanted to put together a ‘wet’ Masala, or spice paste, based on the central flavors that could be made ahead and used for several dishes. As I mentioned in the original post, the recipe there, as with this current blend, is not a traditional Indian recipe but both, at the very least, are very Indian in spirit.

It has taken me a while to actually get down to creating this paste and, after testing it, I found I was a bit disappointed in one regard… In the original recipe, I noted that the flavor of the cardamom did not come through very noticeably and I said that I would increase the amount of this spice component in future attempts. As it is, I put a pretty hefty amount of ground cardamom into the current mix, but, to my surprise, it, again, didn’t exactly dominate. That being said, though … the end result was really terrific and so I will be adding this particular spice blend recipe to my repertoire…

The Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Ginger paste;
  • Minced zest and juice of 1 Lemon;
  • 1 cup Oil;
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar;
  • 2 Tbsp. Fenugreek Seed;
  • 1 Tbsp. Fennel Seed;
  • 2 Tbsp. Coriander Seed;
  • 1 Tbsp. Mace flakes;
  • 1 Tbsp. Yellow Mustard Seed;
  • ½ cup Turmeric;
  • ¼ cup Amchoor powder;
  • 2 Tbsp. ground Cardamom;
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic Salt;
  • ½ cup Vinegar;


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First, dry-roast and grind the whole spices and then mix them with the remaining dry spices and the garlic salt;


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Next, heat the oil in a pan over moderate heat and add the lemon zest, ginger and the sugar. Stir until it is bubbling nicely and athe aromas rise.


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Add in the spice mix, followed by the lemon juice and vinegar. Stir to blend well.


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You need to keep stirring periodically as you cook the moisture out of the blend. After a while (about twenty minutes or so), the blend will start to pull away from the sides of the pot and the oil will separate out. Once this happens, and no more steam arises, you can let the mix cool and then put it in a suitable container for storage. You can use this right away, but it is better to let the flavors continue to develop for a day or so.


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Here is some chicken I prepared to test this blend. I cut slashes in the skin and flesh, rubbed each piece well with the paste and let everything sit for about 6 hours in the fridge. Later, I baked the chicken at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or so and then finished it off under the oven grill to get some nice browning. The result, I have to say was very nice indeed..

As I say, I was initially a bit disappointed in the paucity of cardamom flavor but, in the end, well satisfied with this mix. I think it will extend to many dishes other than chicken and I m thinking, perhaps, of a ‘Jalfrezi’ style curry using shrimp…







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