Friday, January 30, 2009


Every Indian pantry has a variety of spices. Each food preparation requires the right mix of it.
Here comes the funny part. Curry powder is thought to be a staple in Indian households. But, I have never heard of a particular masala called "curry powder" in India. Have you?........... It is a big big misconception foreigners have.

There are 2 things which help a foreigner strike up a conversation with an Indian. One, the weather. Two, curry.

I have been asked many a time:
"Do you know how to make curry?"
I blankly stare back " what curry?"
With a wierd look and shrug they say " Indian curry" .
At that point, I just start my big lecture about the whole curry story, by the end of which those poor, harmless, conversation-starters are bored to death:) but some have left enlightened , I hope. 0:).
Sure, I never want anyone to ask me a curry question again.

I, first, heard of the "curry powder" when I was in Europe. Now, what is the story behind curry powder? I don't know if it is a myth , but I have heard that the famous curry powder was a spice mix developed by the British, who wanted to take home the taste of Indian food. Ok. That's accepted, but because the British developed that in India, does not mean that it is a staple in Indian households.

But, it is a fact that to this day, Indian food is very popular in Britain and is fast catching-on accross the globe.

Things are made easier now-a-days with grocery shops retailing readymade spice mixes. For those of you who have not got into that trend as yet, here are the directions and ingredients to make some of the most important spice mixes which are hot favorites everywhere- Curry powder, Tandoori masala, Pepper masala, Pav bhaji masala and Garam masala.

Curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds,toasted
  • 1 tablespoons cardamom seeds,
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1/8 cup ground turmeric powder
  • 1-1/2 tbspns fenugreek seeds(methi seeds)
  • 1 tbpsn poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tbspn dry ginger powder
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg powder
  • 1 tspn cayenne


Place all ingredients in a spice grinder and grind. Transfer to a container with an airtight lid. Shake well . Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

Garam masala:

  • 5 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 long cinnamon stick -2 inches
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg powder
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 1 long bay leaf


Dry roast all the above spices lightly on low-flame for about 2 mins. Now powder them in a clean, dry spice grinder until smooth. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Tandoori Masala

  • 4 tspns ground coriander powder
  • 3 tspns ground cumin powder
  • 4 tspns garlic powder
  • 4 tspns paprika powder
  • 3 tspn ground ginger powder
  • 3 tbspns garam masala
  • 1 tspn dried mint
  • 1 tspn chilli powder

Mix all together and store.
Cumin powder and coriander powder must be freshly ground. Store in an airtight container.

Pepper masala:
  • Whole peppercorns - 2 tbsp
  • Coriander Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Cloves - 2
  • Cinnamon - 2-inch stick
  • Cardamom - 2 pods
  • Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tspn


Dry roast and cool completely. Grind to a smooth powder. Store in an airtight container.

Pav bhaji masala

  • 10 red chillies
  • 3 tbspns coriander seeds,
  • 3 tbspns cumin seeds,
  • 2 tspns black pepper,
  • 1-1/2 -inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 tspns clove,
  • 1 tspn cardamom seeds
  • 1-1/2 tspns dry mango powder
  • 1 tspn fennel seeds
  • 1 tbspn turmeric powder.


Roast all the ingredients and cool completely. Grind in a spice grinder and store in an air-tight container.

Luv 'n' luc'


  1. Kudos to Smitha!!!! You know my craving for masalas and this is the best.........


  2. nice ur blog

    pls... visit my blog at:

    thank you so much

    best regard,

  3. Hey......i came to see if u have posted something new.......i liked this post....good one....was going thru ur paav bhaji and it sounds yum...very good foto too...i mean the paav bhaji one:)

  4. This post is sure to be treasured !


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