When I was 15 – many, many years ago – I had the awesome experience of living in India for a year. We were 120 miles SW of New Delhi in the state of Rajasthan and the town of Pilani. It was absolutely a wonderful year for me. I met Jawaharlal Nehru – First Prime Minister of India, Rajendra Prasad – Former and First President of India, Lady Mountbatten, Haile Selassie – Former Emperor of Ethiopia and several other heads of state. The people and the food was superb. I will never forget, and have not forgotten, the people and the food. When I walk into an Indian restaurant here in Boise, or overall in the USA, I want to smell the fenugreek and the spices. Then I know it is authentic. If in Boise, go into the Bombay Grill at 10th and Main and inhale the spice odors. There you will be introduced to true and authentic Indian cuisine. Or into the Punjab Market in Yuba City, CA. If you want some really good Indian recipes that use these spice blends or you want to learn how to make Naan, look at Demuths Blog Indian Recipes.
Here are two very basic, but very good, Indian spice recipes from the Southern India area. (The blends will differ from area to area.) [Demuths Blog] Most, if not all of these spices, can be found in an Indian or Asian market.
Homemade Curry Powder
An essential ingredient for numerous Indian recipes.
1 T whole Coriander Seeds
1 T whole Cumin Seeds
1 t whole Black Peppercorns
1 t whole brown Mustard Seeds
2 t whole Fenugreek Seeds
3 hot dried Red Chillies, crumbled. Careful!
3/4 t ground Turmeric
Dry fry all the spices except the turmeric until fragrant, but don’t let them brown as it will ruin the flavor.
Add the turmeric and quickly stir. Decant onto a plate and leave to cool.
Grind in a spice grinder/coffee grinder as finely as possible. Store in an airtight container.
Homemade Garam Masala Powder (Bese Bele)
This is an aromatic sweet blend of spices favored by the Brahmins of Bangalore. Used in numerous Indian recipes, including our masala dosas and masala vada (split pea dumplings in masala gravy).
1 T Cardamom Seeds
1 t whole Cloves
1 t Black Peppercorns
1″ stick of Cinnamon
1/3 of a Nutmeg
a curl of mace
1 sm dried Chilli
6 Curry Leaves
1 T un-sweetened Coconut Flakes
Dry fry all the spices until fragrant, take off the heat and add the coconut flakes. Grind in a spice grinder/coffee grinder as finely as possible.
Store in an airtight container.
Masala Spice Mix – Northern Indian Curry powder
Ingredients – Whole Spices:
2 T Coriander Seeds
1 T Cumin Seeds
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
1 t Fennel Seeds
1 t Mustard Seeds
1 t Fenugreek Seeds
1 t Kalongi/Nigela (A common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, it is in the same family as caraway, dill or parsley. Cumin seeds are a good substitute because they have a peppery and nutty flavor that is similar to nigella seeds.)
10 Curry Leaves
1 Bay Leaf
Ingredients – Ground Spices:
1 t ground Turmeric
1 t ground Ginger
1 t Chilli Powder
pinch of salt
Dry fry the whole spices, until fragrant, cool and grind. Add the ground spices and mix in. This will store in airtight container for a month, or you can make a paste.
To make a paste mix the spice blend with a little vinegar and water until it resembles a paste. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Heat some oil in a pan and add the paste. Gently stir fry for about 5 minutes until the paste start to make a bubbling noise.
Remove from heat and leave to cool. The oil should rise to the surface.
Store in sterilized jars. The layer of oil on top adds to the storing process. Keep in the fridge.