Dry and Wet Masalas

Dry Masala

Dry masalas are those which are in their dry form and no additional liquid component is added to them. These masalas may be whole or broiled and powdered. They might also include those ingredients which are specifically dried. Some ingredients might also be specifically dried in order to be blended with other dry spices. For example, mint is dried and powdered to be used as an ingredient in kebab masala.

Let us discuss some of these dry masalas below:

1. Aamchoori Masala:


Aamchoor, aniseed, cumin, ginger powder, coriander, red chili, salt, ajowan.

This is the regional masala of Punjab. It adds a tangy flavor to the dish as it uses amchoor, which is the power of raw mangoes as it is a dry masala. We shall discuss more aamchoor in chapter 26. It is a souring agent and is used to add piquancy to the masala. Aamchoori masala is mostly used in stuffing okra, baby brinjal, or bitter gourd to create dishes. The names of these dishes are suffixed or prefixed with the name of the masalas, for example, aamchoori bhindi, etc.

2. Potli Masala:


Cubeb pepper, clove, stone pepper, allspice, cinnamon, mace, green cardamom, the root of betel.

This can be classified as Indian sachet d’epices. In Hindi, it literally means a pouch of spices. It is a bouquet of spices tied up in a muslin bag and left in a curry or liquid to let the flavors infuse. There can be many variations of this masala. This masala is added for easy removal of the spices after they have infused with the liquid. It has various uses in Indian cooking. It is used to flavor curries and also to flavor the water or stock for biryani.

3. Khada Masala:


Cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, cumin.

Khada means whole spices. There can be various types of whole spices that are tempered into the hot oil, to allow the flavors to infuse with the oil. The purpose of this could also be to remove the unwanted flavours from the fat such as from ghee.

In Lucknow it is a ritual to add some khada masala to desi ghee to remove the unwanted flavor—this proce­dure is known as ghee durust dena. If the same spices are tied up in a bag they will be called potli masala. The main purpose of the khada masala is to flavour the oil. The spices contain volatile oils that help release their flavour better in warm oil. The spices can be slightly crushed before adding to hot oil or fat.

4. Garam Masala:


Cumin, black cardamom, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon mace, bay leaf, green cardamom.

Garam masala is a blend of aromatic spices, which is used to give flavour to the dish. This masala is usually sprinkled on top of the dish before being served, to retain all the aromas. There could be a slight variation in the ingredi­ents used in different parts of the country.

The individual spices are broiled separately, as they all have different degrees of cooking. They are broiled over low heat until a pleasing aroma comes out. In hotels the spices are arranged in a tray and kept under the ‘hot lamp’ or ‘pick up counter’.

The heating is done to expel the moisture from the spices and to bring out the flavour. Awadhi garam masala may include some more aromatic spices such as rose petals and star anise in addition to the ones mentioned above.

5. Chaat Masala:


Cumin, peppercorns, black salt, dry mint leaves, kasoori methi, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, asafoetida, tartaric acid, mace, dried mango powder.

As the name suggests this masala is used with the Indian street food called chaat. Chaats are mostly associated with sour, piquant, and spicy titbits that are eaten as snacks. The piquancy in chaats is created by adding chaat masala.

Chaat masala is rarely made in hotels or homes, as it is readily available in the market as a condiment. Chaat masala can be added to various other spices to create more masala blends such as kebab masala, etc. The masala is cooked by broiling the spices individually and grinding them to a smooth fine powder. Some masalas are sifted through muslin cloth to get the smooth powdery texture.

6. Chana Masala:


Coriander, cumin, red chillies, ginger powder, dried mango power, cinnamon, black pepper, black cardamom, garlic, cubeb pepper, nutmeg, clove, mace, dried pomegranate seeds.

This is a regional masala from Punjab. Many people make it at home, but mostly it is available in the market as a condiment. This masala is used as a flavouring agent in chickpea curry from Punjab. This masala gives the required amount of spice and piquancy to the dish. Chana masala is also used to flavour the dark pindi chole—a famous dish from Rawalpindi in Pakistan.

7. Pudina Masala:


Dried mint, chilli powder, dried pomegranate seeds, chaat masala, garam masala, black salt.

This masala is a blend of dried mint powder with other spices. It is predominantly flavoured with dried mint powder. It is used for making Indian flat bread called pudina paratha. This masala is also used with kebab masala for kebabs or as sprinkling for various chaats.

8. Kebab Masala:


Chaat masala, chilli powder, black salt, garam masala.

There can be varieties of masalas made for kebabs. Usually kebabs are sprinkled with chaat masala, but one can create unique kebab masalas. Toast the kasoori methi and crush to a powder. Mix all the ingredients and keep it in a container. Though this can be made in bulk in the hotel, it is advisable to make it once a week. You can be creative and combine spices with chaat masala as a base and create different types of kebab masalas.

9. Amritsari Machli Masala:


Cumin, coriander, mint powder, ajowan, asafoe­tida, aamchoor, ginger powder, chilli powder.

This is again one of the regional masalas from Punjab and is typically used in the preparation of Amritsari machli. The spices are individually broiled and crushed to a powder. The fish is marinated in this spice blend and then batter-fried. This spice is also added to the batter that is made of besan.

10. Paanch Phoran Masala:


Anise, mustard, cumin, fenugreek, nigella, radhuni.

This is a regional spice from Bengal and is used in tempering of vegetables, lentils, and fish. As the name suggests, this is a blend of five spices. Radhuni is optional, but most of the classical recipes include it as a part of paanch phoran. This spice adds a peculiar taste to the Bengali dishes and is a mixture of whole unroasted spices. It is always tempered in hot oil.

11. Achari Masala:


Anise, mustard, cumin, fenugreek, nigella seeds.

It is also known as an Indian pickling spice. This masala blend is used in flavoring pickles and hence the name. This is a combination of the above-mentioned spices and is used in pickles. It is also tempered in hot mustard oil to create Achari gravy. These spices are used whole and rarely crushed, as they will give a bitter flavor.

12. Bhatti Da Masala:


Ajowan, green cardamom, black cardamom, clove, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, mace, nutmeg, black pepper, ginger powder, kasoori methi.

This is another regional spice from Punjab. This masala is made by broiling the spices individually and grinding them into a fine powder. In this masala, the spices are broiled until they attain a darker color. This masala is used in kebabs grilled over an open charcoal grill or sigri Sigri is also known as Bhatti in Punjab and thus the name of the spice blend.

13. Dum Ka Masala:


Anise, ginger powder, green cardamom, black cardamom.

It is a blend of aromatic spices and is suitable for dum cooking, where the dish is cooked covered with a heat applied from both top and below. The slow heat in dum cooking helps to extract the flavors out of this masala. This masala is usually used for Mughlai foods cooked by the method of dum cooking. There could again be several variations of dum masala depending upon the regions they are used in.

14. Gunpowder Masala:


Dried curry leaves, red chilies, sesame seeds, black pepper.

The name suggests that this masala is very hot. This is a regional masala from Tamil Nadu in south India. The ingredients are broiled separately and ground to a fine powder. The powder is used to flavor boiled rice with ghee, which is eaten as a meal. It is also served with idlis in the breakfast. This masala is served as a condiment rather than used as a spice in cooking.

15. Bafat Masala:


Red chili, coriander seeds, cumin, mustard, pepper, turmeric, clove, cinnamon.

This masala is used both in vegetarian and meat dishes. It is a popular regional masala of Mangalore region of south India. Traditionally the spices used in this masala are dried out in the sun for almost a week and then ground into powder. This can keep up to several weeks and can be used as a base for vegetable, fish, and meat preparations. It gives a pleasing aroma and color to the dish.

16. Goda Masala:


Coriander seeds, sesame seeds, dry grated coconut, dried red chilies, cumin, cinnamon, asafoetida, star anise, bay leaf, peppercorn, cobra saffron.

Goda masala is a regional masala from Maharashtra. It is used in many Maharashtrian preparations and also used in Konkani cuisine. Heat a very little amount of oil and lightly fry the spices in oil one by one. Keep draining the spices on a paper napkin to soak excess oil. Now grind them into powder and keep the powder in an airtight jar in a cool dry place. This spice blend can be used to flavor meats and vegetables. In case of non-availability of cobra saffron, turmeric can be used.

17. Kolhapuri Masala:


Red chili, coriander, sesame, cumin, mace, cinnamon, dry ginger, green cardamom, black cardamom, mustard, clove, bay leaf, dry coconut, garlic, poppy seeds, peppercorns, asafoetida, turmeric, fenugreek, star anise, nutmeg, oil.

This is one of the regional masalas from Maharashtra. It is a reddish colored masala and is very hot due to a large amount of red chilies in it. Heat a very little amount of oil and lightly fry the spices in oil one by one. Keep draining the spices on a paper napkin to soak excess oil. Now grind the spice into a powder and keep in the powder in an airtight jar in a cool dry place. This spice blend is normally used to flavor meats.

18. Rasam Masala:


Red chili, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, turmeric.

Rasam masala is a regional masala from south India and is used for flavoring a hot aperitif called rasam. This aperitif can be described as spiced lentil water, tempered and flavored with rasam masala and other ingredients such as tamarind, lemon, pineapple, pepper, etc.

Broil the spices individually until a pleasing aroma comes out. Grind into a fine powder and store in the powder in an airtight container. There could be many variations of the rasam masala depending upon the rasam and the region it is from.

Wet Masala:

Wet masalas are those masalas which are actually made by soaking the spices in liquid and grinding them into a paste. They might also use fresh ingredients which tend to yield wet masalas. For example, usage of fresh turmeric, ginger, and garlic with other spices, etc. will yield wet masalas or masala pastes.

1. Malabar Masala:


Coriander, anise, fenugreek, nutmeg, star anise, clove, cinnamon.

This is the regional masala from south India. It is used as a base for fish curries. The spices are soaked in water and ground into a paste. Malabar masala is fried in oil to get the flavors infused into the curry. This spice also lends a thickening to the curry.

2. Sambhar Masala:


Coriander, cumin, chana dal, urad dal, asafoetida, dry red chili, peppercorn, grated coconut, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, turmeric.

This is a regional masala from south India. It is used to flavor the lentil curry called sambhar. Sambhar is served as an accompaniment with south Indian meals such as idli, dosa, and vada. It is also served as a dal with rice. Sambhar can be eaten at any time of the day. The dry spices are boiled separately.

Chana and urad dal is sautéed in a minimum quantity of oil and the entire ingredients are ground along with fresh curry leaves to a fine paste. This paste can be cooked in oil in the beginning or can be added to the boiled lentils towards the end as a tempering.

3. Chettinad Masala:


Red chili, black cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, anise, cumin, coriander seeds, star anise, poppy seeds, peppercorns, green cardamom, cloves, stone flower, and nutmeg, capers, curry leaves, mace, grated coconut.

The merchant community called Chettiars have in the dry region of Tamil Nadu. They used to travel to South-East Asia and brought back many ingredients and spices that can be seen in their cuisine called Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad masala is one of the famous wet masalas. Except for the grated coconut, all the ingredients of the masala are broiled one by one.

Lightly fry the grated coconut in coconut oil until it turns brown. Grind the masala into a paste and this can keep well for months if stored in a cool, dry place. It usually goes well with chicken and the name of the masala will suffix the ingredient used, for example, chicken Chettinad.

4. Goan Masala:


Red chili, garlic, coriander, cinnamon, clove, green cardamom, toddy vinegar, sugar.

As the name suggests, this masala is the regional masala of Goa and is predominantly used in Goan cuisine. This masala pairs up well with fish and seafood. All the spices can be placed in a blender and made into a paste with vinegar. This masala does not require broiling of spices as it will be cooked in oil along with onions and tomatoes to create a piquant and hot Goan curry.

5. Xacutti Masala:


Sliced onions, grated coconut, coriander seeds, cumin, clove, black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon.

This is a regional masala from Goa and pairs up well with chicken. The spices are broiled separately and then made into a paste with sliced onion. The roasting of the masala is done to give a stronger flavor to this masala. This masala is cooked in oil to form the base of curries that go well with chicken.

6. Rechado Masala:


Red chili, garlic, peppercorn, coriander, cumin, turmeric, star anise, sugar.

This is a regional masala from Goa and is used in fish preparations. This masala goes well with a fish preparation called pomfret rechado masala, where this masala is stuffed into the belly of fish, which is then pan-fried. All the ingredients are made into a paste with some vinegar. This masala is stir-fried with chopped onions and fresh herbs such as chopped coriander.

7. Balchao Masala:


Red chili, cinnamon, green cardamom, peppercorn, cumin, fresh ginger, garlic.

This is a regional masala from Goa and is used in the preparation of seafood, such as prawns and shrimps. This masala is used to mari­nate the seafood which is then cooked in oil until the dish is cooked. The spices are ground into a paste along with ginger and garlic.

8. Soola Masala:


Coriander seeds, clove, green cardamom, fennel, garlic, mustard oil, coriander roots, peppercorn.

This is the regional masala from Rajasthan and is used in kebabs called soola. The name soola refers to kebabs made on thick iron skewers on a sigri. The mustard oil is smoked and brought to a lower temperature. The spices are then fried in the oil, except fennel, which is added to the oil in the last. The mix is then cooled and blended into a fine paste. This paste is used for marinating meats, which are then grilled on an open fire.

9. Tandoori Masala:


Hung yogurt, red chili, turmeric, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, malt vinegar, salt.

This is a regional masala from Punjab, but this is used around India to marinate the tandoori kebabs such as tandoori chicken, tikkas, tandoori fish, etc. The red chilies are made into a paste and all the ingredients are mixed together to form a masala. The meats or vegetables are marinated with this masala for at least six to eight hours and then skewered on to the seekh and cooked in tandoor.

10. Salan Masala:


Sesame seeds, cashew nut, peanuts, desiccated coconut, peppercorn, red chili, turmeric.

This is the regional masala from Hyderabad used in making gravy called salan. The spices are broiled individually and ground together into a fine paste. This spice blend is cooked in hot mustard oil along with ginger garlic paste and other spices. Salan is usually a vegetable preparation that is used as an accompaniment with biryani.

11. Ver Masala:


Garlic, shallots, red chili powder, anise seeds, black cumin, black cardamom seeds, green cardamom seeds, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, mace, star anise, nutmeg.

This is the regional masala from Kashmir and the method of preparation of this spice blend is very unique. It is made into a paste and then sewn on a string and hung to dry. This spice is then crushed and used in Kashmiri curries and dishes. It is also known as Kashmiri masala Tikki as it is sold in the form of dry cakes.

Amit Kumar
Amit Kumarhttps://hmhelp.in
Hii! Welcome to My digital home, I am Amit – an almost no-code generalist, helping businesses with their online presence using WordPress and other tools and simplifying some of their operations with ideas and automation. A psychology and philosophy geek by interest and a graduate in Hospitality Management. I founded hmhelp during college, which got me into WordPress. I am a highly motivated and results-oriented professional with a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry. I’m also a Digital Marketing Enthusiast with significant academic and practical experience managing digital content across multiple platforms. Skilled at SEO optimization, developing digital content for social media platforms, I offer extensive knowledge of multiple software programs, strong attention to detail, and extraordinary communication skills. If you are interested in talking about any of the topics I have mentioned on my website, you are in the right place. You can contact me or learn more about what I do. You can also connect with me on social networks.

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