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… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Lemon-Cardamom Masala”

Posted in Herbs and Spices

Spice: Homemade Madras Curry Powder

Madras Curry Powder 1

At one time, a ‘Madras Curry’ was a standard on Indian restaurant menus in the west, and was also a fairly common recipe entry in Indian cookery books. It seems, however, to be a little less frequently encountered these days and this is perhaps because the Indian City of Madras (whence the name) is now known as Chennai, and the eponymous curry was probably more of an Anglo-Indian, rather than a purely Indian creation. Whatever the case, the Madras Curry is still something of a classic and well worth adding to one’s culinary repertoire.

In my research of a wide variety of spice blends, I have found that the Madras Curry blend is the closest to what most westerners would call the ‘curry flavor’ and the typical ingredients are much the same as found in the generic ‘Curry Powder’ you can find in almost any supermarket. The one major difference between the two, as far as I have seen, is that the generic type tends to be high in Turmeric and low in Chili, while, in a Madras blend, the reverse is usually true. In this post, we will have a quick look at the general composition and then I’ll provide a fairly straightforward version that you can use as a starting point for your own culinary creations… Continue reading “Spice: Homemade Madras Curry Powder”

Posted in Recipes

Methi Masala Chicken

Methi Masala Chicken 1

Today’s production is very Indian in character and features chicken roasted in a green spice blend, or masala, whose central ingredient is dried Fenugreek leaf (known in India as ‘Methi’). In my post on the fresh Fenugreek Leaf, I noted that, whereas the fresh article is useful as a vegetable, when dried, the flavor becomes very concentrated and, as a culinary herb, lends dishes a very warm, almost maple-like flavor that is quite unique… Continue reading “Methi Masala Chicken”

Posted in Product Reviews

Dunya Vindaloo Masala

Dunya Vindaloo Masala 01

Most everyone with even a passing acquaintance with Indian cuisine will be familiar with the very popular Vindaloo style curry, and regular readers will recall the loose interpretation of the basic dish I made with my Gomanchala Pork Curry some time ago.

The commercial Vindaloo spice powder you see pictured above was a gift from a visitor this past summer. I have not come across the Dunya brand before (they are an Indian company) but I note that their packaging is very similar to that of Sharwood’s, whose Tandoori Masala I reviewed last year. In any event, I thought that the best way to test this product would be to try out the recipe the manufacturers thoughtfully provide on the label of the container…  Continue reading “Dunya Vindaloo Masala”

Posted in Product Reviews

Tandoori Masala – Kissan™ Brand

Kissan Tandoori Masala 01

Not long ago, a visitor from down south brought my wife a ‘care package’ of various Indian food products which included the commercial Tandoori spice blend you see pictured above. I have not come across this particular brand before and I thought I might test it with a very simple Tandoori Chicken preparation on my barbecue… Continue reading “Tandoori Masala – Kissan™ Brand”

Posted in Herbs and Spices

Spice Blend: Chaat Masala

There is a whole range of snacks in Indian cookery, somewhat corresponding to Chinese Dim Sum, or Spanish Tapas, that known generally as Chaat, or Chat. The name is commonly translated simply as ‘snack’ but it is actually derived from an onomatopoeic  Hindi word that captures the sound of smacking lips. A Masala, as I have mentioned in many previous posts, is a common term in Indian cuisine meaning spice blend, and, not surprisingly, there is a specific mixture, albeit with many different permutations, specifically used for these tasty treats.

I have experimented with some different blends ever since my wife brought home an excellent commercial variety from New Delhi several years ago and I decided that I would like to do a bit of an in-depth study of the various versions and then come up with something of a definitive basic blend for my own use… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Chaat Masala”

Posted in Herbs and Spices

Spice: Black Salt

Black Salt, or ‘Kala Namak’ as it is known in Hindi, is not a seasoning that will be commonly found in western kitchens, but the unique taste will be somewhat familiar to those who have experienced the increasingly more popular Indian snacks known as ‘chaat’. These snacks, often consisting of deep-fried bits and pieces, are generally seasoned with spice mixtures collectively known under the name ‘Chaat Masala‘, in which dried mango powder and black salt, with its signature sulfurous quality, figure highly. The salt, while still only commonly found in Asian groceries in the west, is, nevertheless, relatively inexpensive to purchase and well worth seeking out… Continue reading “Spice: Black Salt”