Thursday, October 4, 2007

Balti Masala Paste

This is a recipe for my staple curry paste. I make a big batch of this up every two months or so and it will keep in the fridge for a very long time. I tend to double or even quadruple the amounts below and then pull it out whenever I need it.

Some of the ingredients are a little hard to find if you don’t live in a place with a large Indian community but leaving out a couple of them will not really be a big deal.


4 tbsp whole cilantro seeds
2 tbsp white cumin seeds
3 2-inch pieces cassia bark
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp green cardamom seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp lovage seeds
1/2 tsp wild onion seeds
6 cloves
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
6 bay leaves
4 tsp turmeric powder
4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp chili powder paste
250ml malt vinegar
175ml vegetable oil

Put the whole spices on a metal tray and roast in a 400oF oven until they are ‘fragrant’, which will be about 8-10mins. Keep an eye on them and make sure they are not burning. Cool and grind the roasted spices in a mortar & pestle or a coffee grinder if you have one. Put in large glass or plastic bowl and then add the other ground spices.

Add the malt vinegar, give it a very good stir and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

In a large wok heat the oil over a medium flame and carefully add the paste to the oil (be wary of splattering).

Stir-fry until liquid content is cooked-out which will take about ten minutes. The test for "doneness" is that once removed from the heat, oil will float to the top. If this does not happen, add some more oil and continue to cook.

Cool and bottle (like jam) and seal with wax paper and a lid. Check after two to three days for mould.

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