Black masala is sometimes referred to as Kaala Masala and is a blend of spices from the Maharashtra region of India. It’s referred to as Black Masala as the spices are roasted before grinding, which darkens them signifcantly, however thy’re still not black, more a dark brown.
- 2 inch piece of Cassia bark.
- 2 tbsp. Cumin seeds.
- 1 tbsp. Fennel seeds.
- 1 tbsp. Caraway seeds.
- 1 Star Anise.
- 2 Cloves.
- 2 tbsp. uncooked Basmati rice.
- 1/2 tsp. Asafoetida.
- 1 tbsp. Sesame seeds.
- About 6 Black Peppercorns.
- 1 tbsp. Salt.
Black Masala Ingredients
Quite simply add all of the ingredients to a small, well seasoned pan and slowly warm through, we used a tried and trusted cast iron frying pan. As the spices roast they will beging to darken and release a wonderful aroma.
Black Masala Ingredients Roasting
After around 15 minutes on a medium heat the spices will have taken on a deep rich hue, at this point take the pan off the heat and allow everything to cool down.
Black Masala Ingredients Roasted
This cooling process is important, especially if you’re going to use an electric spice grinder. Grinding warm spices will cause condensation inside the spice grinder and make everything go clammy and unpleasant. Once the spices have cooled grind them up, you can use a pestle and mortar if you wish, or an electric spice ginder. Blitz it all to a fine powder then store it in a clean, air tight jar away from sunlight.
Black Masala Mix Powder
- 200ml Base gravy
- 400ml Water
- 300gm Meat or vegetables
This is ridiculously simple. It might not give the same depth of flavour as the other precooking recipes but it’s perfect if you’re in a rush. Simply dilute the base gravy with the water in a large pan and bring it up to the boil. Add the diced meat or vegetables and simmer until cooked to your liking. Drain it all off, use in a curry straight away or refrigerate.
As a guide, here are some average cooking times.
- Chicken – 8-10 minutes
- Vegetables – 10-15 minutes
- Lamb – 2- 3 hours (keep checking the liquid level)
- 1kg Lamb mince
- ½ tbsp. Garlic & ginger puree
- 1 tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. Coriander
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Cumin
- 1 tsp. Chili powder
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 4 Cardamom Pods, split
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Enough water to cover
Fry the mince in the oil with the Garlic & ginger puree until brown, then add the spices and stir for 2-3 minutes. Cover with water and simmer until just dry, about 1 hour.
A good way to remove the excess grease and fat is to drain the Keema into a large sieve, then press down with the back of a ladle or large spoon, forcing the fat out through the sieve.
- 600g Mixed vegetables
- 1 Red potato peeled and cut into quarters
- 3 tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 2 Onions finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. Garlic & ginger puree
- 1 tbsp. Salt
- 200g Chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup Water
- 1 tsp. Coriander powder
- 1 tsp. Cumin powder
- ½ tsp. Chili powder
- ½ tsp. Garam masala
- 1 tbsp. Tomato puree
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic & ginger puree and salt gently for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook gently for a few minutes then add the spices and tomato puree, cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, before adding a cup of water. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the vegetables (see notes below), put a lid on and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked, obviously the length of time depends on what vegetables you are using. Check the vegetables are cooked al dente (firm) and set aside for use in a curry.
A good selection of vegetable to use would include; baby sweet corns, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, sugar snap peas, mange tout. Depending on which vegetables you choose, make sure you add them to the dish in the correct order, for example carrots will take longer to cook than broccoli so add the carrots first, cook for a few minutes and add the broccoli later. This prevents the quicker cooking vegetables from turning to mush. Just cooked is good, mushy is bad.
- 6 Chicken breasts, diced.
- ½ tbsp. Turmeric
- ½ tbsp. Chili powder
- ½ tbsp. Curry powder
- ½ tbsp. Cumin powder
- 1 tsp. Garam masala
- ½ tbsp. Coriander powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. Garlic & ginger puree
- ½tbsp. Mint sauce
- 4 tbsp. Natural yoghurt
- Juice of ½ a fresh lemon.
- 1 tsp. Methi leaves
- 1 tsp. Red food colouring
Firstly cut each chicken breast in to large chunks. Depending on the size of each breast you should aim for between 5 and 7 cubes each.
Now mix all of the dry spices together in a non-reactive bowl, then add the garlic & ginger paste, yoghurt, methi leaves, mint sauce and lemon juice, before adding the cubed chicken. If you’re going to use the food colouring to add a little depth, now is the time to add it. Mix thoroughly and leave to marinate overnight.
Wipe most of the marinade off the meat before cooking. Thread the meat onto skewers and place under a very hot grill, barbecue, or, if you have one, an authentic Tandoor oven.
As far as timing goes, you want the chicken cooked but still moist and juicy inside, aim for a couple of charred edges on each piece of meat. Remember the red food colouring is purely optional and only gives the meat a more authentic look, nothing more. If you don’t like the idea of adding a colouring to your dish, don’t.
- 2 x Dhania Powder (Coriander)
- 2 x Jeera Powder (Cumin)
- 2 x Curry Powder
- 3 x Turmeric
- 2 x Paprika
- 1 x Garam Masala (An Indian spice blend)
The reason there are only numbers and no measurements listed above is because the powder is simply a mixture at a certain ratio, use teaspoons, tablespoons, or wheelbarrows, it makes no difference as long as the ratio between the spices is the same. Simply mix them all together and store in an air tight container away from sunlight.
This recipe was originally posted by Dipuraja1 on YouTube. Click here to see the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuD3l0b6ep0
- 300gm Diced lamb leg (All fat removed)
- 2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp. Garlic & ginger puree
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 4 Cardamom Pods
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 100ml Base gravy
- 200ml Water
Fry the lamb chunks in vegetable oil with the garlic and ginger paste and spices for 10 to 15 minutes until nicely seared.
Simmer on the hob gently for about an hour and a half, or until tender. Keep checking that the mixture isn’t drying out, if it is, just add a little water.
Then scoop the chunks of lamb out with a slotted spoon and reserve for later use.
Always cut your lamb into chunks larger than you would actually eat, during the precooking stage the lamb pieces will shrink in size by about 25-30%. The best cut of meat to use is a boned and filleted Lamb leg. Mutton may also be used. If you can’t get Leg, then Shoulder may be used, but it’s more difficult to remove all the fat.
Please do NOT use meat that has been slaughtered using traditional halal methods. It’s cruel, barbaric and utterly unnecessary.
- 1kg Diced Chicken (Breast)
- 1 & ½ tbsp. Garlic & ginger puree
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Turmeric
- ½ tsp. Coriander powder
- ½ tsp. Cumin powder
- 1 tsp. Chili powder
- 1 tbsp. Tomato paste
Mix the chicken, spices and other ingredients by hand. Add a little oil then gently mix again. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge, preferably over night.. To cook, place the pieces of chicken on a baking tray and cook in oven at 170/150(fan) degrees C for 15-18 minutes, or until just cooked.
As a guide a medium sized chicken breast can be cut into about 5 good size chunks. Cut the tip off the breast to create a single piece of meat, and then slice the remaining portion in half, length ways, and then each strip into two pieces. This is for large chunks, for medium sized chunks cut each strip into three pieces, not two. Below is an example of cutting a relatively small chicken breast in to 5 pieces.
Remember to mix the chicken and spices together first without the oil, otherwise the oil can prevent the spices from sticking to the meat properly.
Please note, this is not a method for producing Chicken Tikka.
Serves: 8+ portions
- 700 gms of peeled chopped white Onions
- 1 Sweet potato, chunked
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 2 inch piece of Ginger, chopped
- 1 Green pepper, cut in to chunks
- 150 ml of Ground nut or Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp. of Salt
- 1 ½ tsp. of Turmeric
- 1 ½ tsp. of Coriander powder
- 1 ½ tsp. of Cumin powder
- 2 tsp. of Curry powder
- 1 tsp. of Garam Masala
- 1 Vegetable stock cube
- 2 litres of Water
- ½ Tin of Tomatoes
Right, grab a pan, a BIG pan, add the oil and spices, fry gently for a few minutes, add the onions and fry until they begin to soften. Then add the rest of the ingredients apart from the garam masala and tinned tomatoes. Pop a lid on and slowly bring the whole lot up to a gentle boil.
After the vegetables and spices have simmered for an hour add the tomatoes and garam masala and simmer for a further 30 minutes on a very low heat.
Allow it to cool completely, and then blend until smooth. Simple isn’t it? Let it cool and it’s ready to use. If you’re going to freeze it, decant the gravy / sauce in to approx 400ml portions and bung in the freezer. When you come to make your curries, make sure the base sauce has defrosted completely before you try to reheat it.
Always allow the base gravy to cool completely before blending. Use a very powerful stick blender if you want to blend it all in one go. Another option is to use two large pans, one with the unblended base gravy and another empty, pour a suitable amount of the gravy into a liquidizer, blend it and then pour it into the clean pan, rinse and repeat until it’s all done. This method is pictured below.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t an original recipe, it’s a modified version of another recipe that I’ve tweaked to my own preferences. To see the original recipe, click here.