Did you ever find yourself getting stuck with a recipe that list a paste or ingredient that you have no idea how to get or make? I often did and it is so annoying. Recently I was trying to making an Indian recipe and I stumbled upon Madras Masala Paste??? erhm… huh? What is that? I flipped through the whole book from back to cover… no mention of what this paste is nor how to make it. Thank goodness for the Internet, without it, I wouldn’t be able to make this paste nor know what it is. 🙂
Ok, Confession time: when I made this paste the first time around, I didn’t have exactly all the ingredients and I improvised a bit. I replaced the spices with ready-grounded spices. I replaced black mustard seeds (I didn’t have them at hand) with wasabi (I know, the Indian chef would have a heart attack if he knew this) and I used balsamic vinegar instead of cider. On top of that, I absently added the oil into the paste mixture. I realised my mistake too late. Anyway I cooked the paste, curious to see how it would turn out – although the oil never separated from my paste, the paste was still delicious and very fragrant.
Coming soon, recipe that uses this paste. Do watch out for it. 🙂
Madras Masala Paste
- 8 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 4 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
- 11 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 inches piece fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
- cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup sunflower oil
- Heat up wok and dry stir-fry the coriander, cumin, and peppercorns for 1-2 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
- Add the black mustard seeds and toss constantly until they start to pop. Do watch the spices carefully that they don’t get too dark or burnt.
- Transfer the spices to cool on a plate. (The spices will continue to cook if you leave them in the wok to cool). Grind the cooled spices into a fine powder.
- Add the turmeric, chili powder and salt, garlic, ginger and stir in enough vinegar to make a paste.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan at medium heat, fry the paste, stirring constantly until the oil begins to separate.
- Remove pan from heat and let the paste cool completely.
- Keep the paste in a clean airtight container. Store in fridge and use it within 3 weeks.
As noted by one of my reader and confirmed by my friend from India, vinegar is not part of any traditional madras recipe. As far as my friend’s knowledge goes, South Indians use tamarind juice wherever they need the sour taste and not vinegar. So I guess the vinegar is an improvised solution when one doesn’t have tamarind on hand.
This paste is very aromatic and spicy – as it is really white-hot-fire-burning-inferno-from-hell. For those who can’t take it very spicy, reduce the quantity of chili powder added to the paste. You have been warned!