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Seasoning Mixture, Masala and Curry Explained by Late Shaboodin Ali - May his soul rest in eternal peace

Cooking life of yester years were tough and time consuming. Our mothers and grand mothers had hard time preparing seasoning and masala having no electric instruments, as grinder, mixture and so forth. Modern days living with super markets, convenience stores and big grocery stores have made life more easier by providing with ‘ready-to-cook’ seasonings & masalas of every dish that one needs.

Besides seasonings & masalas, many companys are providing with ready to cook meal too. Yet home made seasonings and masalas have their own flavor, provided one has taste, stamina, and time to prepare them. Any way since requests have come from my friends for a few recipes of 'seasonings' and 'masalas', here they are.

"Seasoning Mixtures & Masalas"

A curry is basically a casserole of meat, poultry, or vegetables cooked in a 'masala'-a combination of spices in a paste.

GARAM MASALA

Literally means 'hot spice', and is made by roasting and grinding a variety of dried spices to achieve different flavors. The basic art of Indian/Pakistani cooking lies in the careful blending of different spices to yield subtle variations in the flavor of different foods. The kitchen shelves of any Indian/Pakistani home will always have at least two, three, or more of 'instant powders', called masalas.

CHILIES

- both fresh and dried - are an important part/spice in Indian/Pakistani cooking. The seeds being the hottest part of a chili, remove them, if you prefer a milder flavor. "WARNING": ALWAYS wash your hands thoroughly with soap after preparing 'chili-part' of the cooking; as the oil - though not always visible by a naked eye - from the chili will sting if your un-washed hands accidentally touch any part of your body, specially tender parts, of eyes, ears, nose, lips etc. The better way is to wear hand-gloves while preparing or cooking foods. But here's a problem too. Some of you may be allergic to wearing gloves. Like spices, 'tamarind is also an important part of an Indian/Pakistani cooking. Also important are, 'yogurt and milk. It is worth taking trouble in making your own yogurt. The milk must be first sterilized, so it is easier to use long-life-machine-pack milk, which is already sterilized. However, fresh milk should be brought to the boil, and then allowed to cool. Once you have made the first batch of 'yogurt', save a tablespoonful to start the second batch."PANEER", or "CHEESE" as called in western world, is an Indian cheese', made by curdling milk and leaving it in muslin-cloth, (cheesecloth), to strain off the whey. With this brief introduction completed, let us come to the basic ingredients

, CHAT MASALA

1/2 tbsp Dried aniseed
1/2 tsp asatoefida
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp black salt(kala namak)
1/2 tsp cardamom black
1/2 tsp cardamom green
1-2 tsp chili powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp citric acid
1 / 2 tsp clove
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 tsp ginger powder
1/2 -1 tsp dried mango powder, or to taste
1/4 tsp mace/javintry
1/3 tsp paprika
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp mono sodium glutamate (Optional).

PREPARATION

Mix well all the ingredients.
Over a medium flame, in a thick bottom pan, roast till color changes to slight brownish, but not blackish, (else ingredients will burn and will give bitter taste), or until spices give out a distinct aroma and the pan emits light fumes of smoke. **Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. **Grind to a fine powder. **Store in an airtight jar, or a container with tight lid. Can be stored up to 4-5 months, if properly stored. Note: In any recipe you may add or remove, or increase or decrease any ingredients of your choice.

"MASALAS".CURRY POWDER

5 tbsp each, whole coriander seeds, whole cumin seeds
2 tsp fresh ground turmeric
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1-2 tbsp red hot chili powder, or to taste
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ginger powder
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp ground dried curry leaves - curry pata
1 tbsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground green cardamom.

PREPARATION

Mix all the ingredients, well.
Dry roast till lightly colored.
Let Cool, then grind to a fine powder, if necessary sieve through a fine cloth, several times.
Store in an airtight container. Can be stored up to several months.

GARAM MASALA

3 tbsp black cardamom seeds
3-inch, 4-5 stick cinnamon, broken into small pieces
2 tbsp cloves seeds
1/2 tbsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp black pepper corns
2 tbsp cumin seeds.

PREPARATION

Mix well all the ingredients.
Roast the spices in a small, heavy based pan over a medium flame, for 4-5 minutes, or until spices shed their own color and become a shade darker, and until spices give out a distinct flavor/aroma.
Remove from the heat, let it cool.
Grind to a fine powder. Store in a airtight jar, or a container. Can be stored up to 5-6 months, if properly stored.

GREEN CURRY PASTE

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) soaked over night / 3 tbsp garlic paste / 2 tbsp ginger paste.
3 tbsp each, chopped fresh mint (fudina), chopped fresh coriander leaves (daniya pati) ˝ tsp citric acid
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground tuemeric (haldi)
1-2 tbsp hot red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp ground cloves (laving)
1 tsp ground cardamom green (choti elachi)
1/2 cup peanut oil
3-4 tbsp sesame oil.

PREPARATION

Drain and rinse dry methi seeds; then puree with all the ingredients, but oils. Over medium flame heat peanut oil and stir-fry the paste until thick and oil separates and appears on the surface, 4-6 minutes. Remove and store into a tight lid container. Before closing the lid, pour pre-heated sesame oil over the paste, leaving a little space so as not to make paste over flow. Store in a dark dry place. No need for refrigeration. Close lid tightly after every use.
These are but few of the 'masalas' and paste.

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