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Kitchen Alchemy: Crafting Homemade Masalas

Ever tried to make a special dish and the end product tastes nothing like how it is supposed to? Despite using all the right ingredients, something as simple as not using the right masalas can make or break your recipe!

Masalas often seem like a humble set of powders that are simply added to dishes, because you are supposed to. But you put the wrong one or don’t have the right one, and you will see how even the freshest and best ingredients still won’t taste like the real deal!

The market is full of ready-to-use masalas and spice mixes that can be used very easily. But their quality, freshness, as well as right proportions, will always remain questionable. The best, most cost-effective and hygienic option is to make these masalas at home.

Making masalas at home is far simpler than you would imagine. All you need are a few spices, and the right recipe and your masalas are freshly prepared in no time! Here are a few commonly used masalas that can be easily prepared at home.

Kanda Lasun Masala

This is a traditional spice mix that is common in most Maharashtrian households. Literally translated, it is an onion and garlic spice mix, which adds a spicy and pungent aroma to Marathi dishes. Here is how you can make it quickly and easily at home.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: about 500 gm


  • Dry Red Chilli: 200gm
  • Bedgi red chilli: 100 gms
  • Dry Coconut: 75gms
  • Onions: 4 medium, very thinly sliced
  • Ginger: 1-inch grated
  • Garlic: 15 cloves  chopped

To dry Roast:

  • Coriander seeds: 1 tablespoon
  • Sesame seeds: 1 tablespoon
  • Fennel Seeds: 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds: 2 tablespoons
  • Bay leaf: 3 leaves

To Roast in oil:

  • Black Peppercorns: 1 tablespoon
  • Cloves: 10 cloves
  • Green cardamom: 3 pcs
  • Star Anise: 2
  • Stone flower: 3
  • Asafoetida: 1 teaspoon

Buy ingredients here


  1. Take a pan and put on low flame and dry roast all the masalas like coriander seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, and cumin seeds and roast them till they slightly change colour and become fragrant.
  2. Next, add little oil to the same pan and roast the black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, stone flower, star anise and bay leaves till they are fragrant. Keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, add some more oil and add the onion slices and cook them till they turn brownish in colour. Keep them aside. Add the red chillies and bedgi chillies along with the grated coconut and garlic and ginger. Roast till the coconut turns slightly brown.
  4. Take a blender a blend all the ingredients into a fine powder.
  5. You can store this masala in an airtight container for about 1 month in a refrigerator.

Biryani Masala

Biryani is one food item, that has grown to become an emotion in our country. An apt meal for all occasions, this is loved by all. But when the masala for the biryani is prepared at home, the tastes are fresher and sharper and much better. The best part is that the masala is prepared in minutes and can be made beforehand.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2 minutes
  • Serves: ¾ cup


  • Kashmiri Red Chilli: 5 whole
  • Bay Leaves: 5
  • Coriander seeds: 3 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Caraway seeds (Shah jeera): 1 tsp
  • Mace (Javitri): 1 broken
  • Cinnamon Stick: 2-  1inch pieces
  • Cloves: 1 tsp
  • Black cardamom (Badi Elaichi) 3
  • Star Anise: 2
  • Black Peppercorns: 3 tsp
  • Green Cardamom: 10pcs
  • Fennel seeds: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Nutmeg powder: ½ spoon

Get ingredients here


  1. Take a pan and add all the ingredients except turmeric and nutmeg powder. On a slow flame, roast the spices till they are fragrant. Remove from the flame and cool, now add the turmeric and nutmeg powder and add to a blender. Blend it into a fine powder.
  2. Store in an airtight container and use it whenever needed.

Iyengar Puliodharaai Masala

This masala is the most crucial part of making the famous Tamarind rice also known as Puliodharaai rice or even Temple rice. This rice is fragrant, delicious and comforting.

The most important step in making tamarind rice is to make the Puliodharaai paste or masala. Let us see how to make it.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 250-300ml paste


For Spice Powder:

  • Coriander seeds: 3 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds: ¾ tsp
  • Dry red chillies: 4 pcs
  • White Sesame seeds: 3 tsp
  • Whole Black peppercorns: 1.5 tsp

For Tamarind paste:

  • Sesame oil (Gingelly oil): 1/3 cup
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Chana Dal: 2 tsp
  • Dry red chillies: 4 pcs
  • Asafoetida: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1.5 tsp
  • Curry Leaves: 3 sprigs
  • Peanuts: ½ cup
  • Salt: to taste
  • Jaggery: 2 tablespoons
  • Tamarind: ½ cup

Get ingredients here


Spice Powder:

Take a pan and set it on low flame, add all the dry ingredients like coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chillies, sesame seeds and black peppercorns. Dry roast them until they become fragrant and slightly change colour. Remove from flame, cool and blend into a fine powder.

For the Tamarind pulp:

  1. Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of warm water Squeeze out all the tamarind pulp and discard the threads and fibre. Set this aside.
  2. Heat some sesame oil and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the chana dal and dry red chillies. Once the chana dal is golden, add the tamarind pulp.
  3. After this, add the other ingredients like asafoetida, turmeric and curry leaves. Next, add the peanuts (You can skip the peanuts if you wish). Finally, add jaggery and salt and mix well.
  4. Remove from the flame, add the dry spice mix to this pulp and mix well.
  5. Store in an airtight container and use when needed.

Buy ingredients here

Channa Masala

Channa Masalas or Chole masala is a delicious chickpea-based gravy that is the definition of comfort food. It is warm, mildly spicy, and goes perfectly well with rice, puris or even bhature. Though there are many companies that sell the ready prepared channa masala, making the masala fresh at home elevates the dish to a much higher level.

Here is how to make it.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
  • Yields: 1 cup


  • Cumin Seeds: 3 tablespoons
  • Coriander seeds: 3 tablespoon
  • Dried Pomegranate seeds (anardana): 2 tablespoon
  • Dry red chillies: 12pcs
  • Ajwain: ½ tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Black Cardamom: seeds from 2 pods
  • Black peppercorns: 3 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick 4 x 1inch pcs
  • Cloves: 8
  • Black salt: 2 tsp
  • Dry Mango Powder (Amchoor): 1 tsp
  • Dry Ginger powder (Saunth): ½ tsp
  • Dry garlic powder: 1 tsp

Buy ingredients here


  1. Take a pan and place on medium to low flame, add the cumin and coriander seeds and dry roast until they are fragrant but not burnt. Remove from flame and keep aside.
  2. In the same pan, dry roast the dried pomegranate seeds, ajwain, dry red chillies, fenugreek seeds, seeds from the black cardamom, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks along with the cloves, black salt, dry mango powder and dry ginger powder with dried garlic powder. Roast this mixture lightly for about a minute or until they become fragrant.
  3. Remove from the flame and allow to cool.
  4. Now add the cooled coriander and cumin seeds as well. Blend using a mixing jar into a fine powder.
  5. Store in an air-tight container and use when needed.

1 comment on “Kitchen Alchemy: Crafting Homemade Masalas

  1. I use this chilli powder in almost all of my dishes. It gives them a great spicy punch without overpowering the taste.

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