METHKOOT

Methkoot is a classic semi- dry spice mix from Maharashtra with a long list of ingredients. Methi- refers to dried fenugreek seeds, which is the main flavour of this spice mix and koot in Marathi mean ground or powdered mix.
Methkoot contains no coconut, garlic or onions and is traditionally eaten with steaming hot rice and ghee, with white butter and poles or thalipeet or served as a condiment in a thali.A flavourful combination of roasted lentils, grains and spices you can also mix it into clam fritter batter, Karwari sambhar lentils I also add it to dals, sautéed vegetables, yogurt and even pea and potato pattice while kneading the potatoes.
The ingredients of methkoot must be dry and at room temperature when they are ground. If you must wash your lentils, rice and wheat be sure not to soak them and to drain and dry them throughly before roasting them. I buy my grains commercially packaged is I can avoid washing them.

Methkoot refrigerated can keep for 6-8 months.
Methkoot is said to aid digestion and if an old housewives tale is to be believed boosts the immunity system.

INGREDIENTS FOR APPROX 2 CUPS

GRAINS AND LENTILS
1⁄2 cup raw, milled wheat grains, 1⁄2 cup raw, short or medium-grained rice, washed and completely dried ,2 tsp husked, split Bengal gram or chana dal 2 tsp husked, split moong beans or moong dal 2 tsp husked, split pigeon peas or toover/arhar dal 2 tsp urad dal

SEEDS AND SPICES

1 tsp white sesame seeds, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder, 1⁄4 tsp white pepper powder, 6 dried red Byadgi or Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed

FOR TEMPERING

1 tbsp vegetable oil 1⁄2 tsp mustard seeds 1⁄4 tsp asafoetida powder

TO SEASON

2 tsp salt 1 tsp fine granulated sugar (OR TO TASTE)

METHOD

remove any large fibres from the spices and seeds and any chaff from the grains. If your grains are clean do not wash them. If you do wash them drain immediately and let dry completely before you grind them.
Roast the wheat and rice grains in a dry skillet on medium heat for about 15 minutes, till golden.
Add the dals to the same skillet and roast them on medium heat for 6-8 minutes till golden.
Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida powder, salt and sugar to the same skillet and roast them on medium heat, till fragrant and golden. Set aside to cool completely.
Grind the cooled grains to a fine powder. This spice mix should not be grainy  so  grind it repeatedly in small batches, then mix the batches up and grind again. A coffee grinder or a specialised spice grinder is suitable.

Put the oil in a small pan on medium heat. When hot, sauté the mustard seeds and asafoetida powder for about 60-75 seconds until fragrant and bubbly.
Cool completely and add the contents of the pan to the powdered mix with the salt and sugar and grind again to a very smooth consistency. The oil will make the mix a little damp but that is fine.
Taste for salt and adjust. The mixture must be slightly salty as it is eaten with plain, unsalted, boiled, white rice. However if you plan to use it as a spice mix you may want to under salt it so you can add salt to your taste.  While we use a small amount of sugar this is not a sweet spice mix so add sugar very carefully, only to heighten the flavours.
Store in a clean, dry airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 6 months.

KHANDESHI KALA MASALA

 

Khandeshi masala is a variant of the Puneri Goda Masala (find recipe here http://www.taradeshpande.in/gode-or-kaala-masala/  and has Mughal influences in that it uses khus-khus, green cardamom and nutmeg. It also contains sunth (dried,powdered ginger) and turmeric. Unlike Goda it doesn’t imply sesame seeds. But all kala masalas have dagadphool and dried lichen flower in common. This ingredient is a must for this recipe.

Khandesh is a central Indian  district in Maharashtra and shares a border with Madhya Pradesh. It has a very rich culinary history as it was first ruled by Rajputs, followed by 4 centuries of rule by the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals. This was followed by Maratha annexation and finally British Rule. Khandesh since has been divided into 3 districts in Maharashtra state. Khandesh’s Khada masala is another famous spice mix also known as Maharashtra’s garam masala.

Khandeshi masala is used to make chicken and mutton curries. It is also used to cook various sautéed vegetables.

Makes 3 cups

WHOLE SPICES AND SEEDS

  • 30 gms white Poppy Seeds /Khus Khus
  • 10 gms stone flower or Dagad Phool or lichen flower
  • 15 gms Cumin Seeds/Jeera
  • 150 gms Coriander seeds (stalks and fibers removed)
  • 12 Dried Red Bedgi or Kashmiri Chillies, stalks and seeds removed
  • 20 gms whole Black Peppercorns
  • 15 gms Cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 15 gms whole Cloves
  • 1/2 piece of a whole Black Cardamom or Badi Eliachi
  • 15 gms Shahi Jeera or black cumin
  • 15 gms Fennel Seeds or saunf
  • 1 dried bay leaf, Tamal part or Tej Patta (stalk removed)
  • 3 gms Mace or Javitri
  • POWDERED INGREDIENTS
  • 15 gms Asafoetida or Hing]
  • 50 gms whole Turmeric chopped or use 2 tsp’s powdered turmeric
  • 1/4 piece of 1 Nutmeg or Jaiphal, powdered
  • 15 gms powdered and dried Ginger or Sunth
  • 250 gms desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • FOR COOKING AND SEASONING
  • Approx 7-8 teaspoons of  vegetable oil
  • Salt as desired

process

Step 1

Roast the coconut in a dry, thick bottomed cast iron skillet on medium heat until golden brown. Reserve in a large bowl and let cool.Add the dried ginger and ground nutmeg to the coconut and stir well.
Step 2
In the same skillet heat a teaspoon of oil roast the fresh chopped  turmeric until fragrant and dry and add to the bowl of coconut.
If using dried and powdered turmeric skip this step, just add the turmeric to the coconut.
Heat one teaspoon of oil and roast the asafoetida until fragrant. Do not burn the asafoetida. If it starts smelling acrid start again. Add to the. coconut and reserve.
STEP 3
Roast each remaining spice and seed separately in the skillet without oil for the first 2-3 minutes. Then add a half teaspoon of oil and roast lightly until golden and fragrant. Add to the bowl with remaining ingredients.

Step 3

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl using a large spoon and return to the cast iron skillet and roast on low heat for 2 minutes. This will evenly distribute the powdered nutmeg, turmeric, asafoetida and ginger and allow the flavours to meld. Keep the heat low so as not to burn the turmeric and dried ginger. Switch off the flame. Stir for another minute so heat dissipates then transfer back to heat proof bowl.

Cool this mixture completely then grind in batches to a smooth fibre less consistency. This process will take 12-15 minutes or longer. Once you have ground all the batches mix them up and grind again to ensure that all ingredients are evenly mixed. You will have a dark brown, clumpy, thick, even sticky masala depending on how much oil was released by the Add salt to taste. Some cooks do not add salt- this way they can add salt to every dish they use this spice mix in separately.

Once cooled, transfer the masala to an airtight jar. Store in a cool dry place or best keep refrigerated and it will last a year. Scrape off bits every time you want to use some with a dry spoon and return to the fridge.
 

GODA OR KALA MASALA

GODA OR KALA MASALA

Goda means sweet in Marathi and kala means black. This sweet, smoky spice mix is among the most complex ones you will find in Indian cooking. It is a spice mix made without garlic and onions and is most often attributed to the cooking of the Pune Brahmins but is not limited to this community.

It has dozens of ingredients but it  is worth the effort because you can use it in so many dishes and refrigerated it will keep for over a year. Goda masala is added to a long list of dishes: usals, stuffed aubergines, vaangi bhaat and amti.

Goda is also called Kaala masala because of its dark bronze color but there are other versions of Kaala masala in Maharashtra with varied spice combinations but they all contain dagadphool.  Sholapur and the Khandesh have unique Kala masalas- you will find the recipe here.  http://www.taradeshpande.in/khandeshi-kala-masala/  .

Unlike other spice mixes, that require a light toasting, spices for goda masala are individually roasted slowly, till they are golden brown, to produce a dark colour- hence the name Kaala masala- the final color is not a light brown but a deep dark brown and mildly sweet because of the addition of coconut.

Commercially sold Kaala or Goda masala is generally a drier powdered mix. The one we make at home is not. Its sticky and clumpy because of the oils released while grinding the coconut and sesame seeds.

Stone flower  or dagadphool is a unique ingredient used in this spice mix and is crucial
to its taste.  You will find it here –

https://www.amazon.in/SpiceMart-Organically-Grown-Stone-Flower/dp/B075K7K5K2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1538189161&sr=8-2&keywords=DAGADPHOOL

TIPS
Do not heat the oil before adding the spices.
Add cold oil to the spices in the skillet and cook on low to medium heat. Keep stirring to avoid burning the spices.
You can halve this recipe to make a smaller amount.

INGREDIENTS MAKES ABOUT 1.5 CUPS

FOR COOKING AND SEASONING
6-8  tsp vegetable oil

1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to season as required

WHOLE SPICES AND SEEDS

1⁄3 cup cumin seeds 1 tsp black mustard seeds,3⁄4 cup coriander seeds,1/⁄4 tsp asafoetida powder,1 tsp black cumin seeds or shahi jeera/kala jeera 6 cloves 3” cinnamon stick 1⁄2 cup stone flower/lichen flower or dagadphool 4 dried red Byadgi or Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed 1 dried bay leaf stalk removed, 1⁄4 piece of a whole black cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek or methi seeds

For dry-roasting
1.5 cups  dried, unsweetened coconut , 1⁄4 cup white sesame seeds

METHOD

Put a heavy bottomed large cast iron skillet or pot on low heat.

Add the coconut to the dry skillet and roast until the coconut is golden brown. This will take a good 7-10 minutes. Do not burn the coconut. It should be a light brown when you take it off the stove. Reserve in a medium- sized mixing bowl. Stir in turmeric and reserve.

Add  the cumin and mustard seeds to the same skillet. Roast for about 3 minutes, till fragrant and golden. Add a teaspoon of oil and continue roasting. Remove and scrape into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Add  coriander seeds and b lack cumin to the same skillet and roast 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon oil and count roasting until golden brown. Remove and add to the bowl of coconut.

Add the cloves, cinnamon and stone flower. Roast for 2 minutes.Add 1/2 teaspoon oil and roast again until fragrant. Scrape into the same bowl.

Add the red chillies, bay leaf and black cardamom and roast on low to medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 teaspoon oil and roast again. Scrape into the bowl.

Add the sesame seeds and fenugreek seeds and continue toasting for about 4-5 minutes, till the seeds are golden. Add 1/2 tsp oil and roast again. Add to the bowl.

Add a teaspoon of oil and the asafoetida at the same time and roast until fragrant. Scrape into the bowl.

Combine all the spices and the coconut with a spoon. Return all of them to the skillet and roast again, turning continuously for about 2 minutes. Switch off flame and continue to stir to dissipate heat. Then cool in the mixing bowl.

When spices are completely cool grind in small batches to a smooth fingerless powder. Then grind all the batches together again. At this time you can add salt if you like.

You will have a bronze color spice mix thats wet and clumpy.

Cool them and grind to a slightly wet powder.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This spice mix, if kept moisture-free, will last a year in the refrigerator. Scrape of spoon fulls as as when required and return to the fridge.

SUNDAY MASALA

Sunday Masala

SUNDAY MASALA

SUNDAY MASALA

Ingredients

Sunday Masala is a Maharashtrian specialty with Malwani influence. It is a masala made at home and reserved for special Sunday family meals that generally involve some kind of meat or fish. But this masala is very versatile and adds flavor to dishes made with baby eggplant, ash gourd, chicken, fried fish and various curries. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.

Many of the esoteric ingredients such as Dagadphool and Nagkesar are exclusive to the Konkan coast and maybe available on special order online or at a specialty spice store.

Whole Coriander seeds: 75 gms

Whole Cumin seeds: 45 gms

Bedgi or Kashmiri dried Red Chilies stalks and seeds removed : 250 gms

Dessicated unsweetened Coconut : 50 gms

Khuskhus or white Poppy seeds: 25 gms

Cinnamon sticks: 20 gms

whole Black peppercorns: 20 gms

Whole Black cumin or Shahieera: 10 gms

Whole Cloves: 10 gms

Powdered Hing or Asafetida: 2 gms

Dagadphool also called stone or Lichen flower): 5 gms

Nagkesar or Mesua: 5 gms

Seeds of green Cardamoms: 3 gms

Dried Whole star anise or Chakramagi or Badalphool : 1 piece broken up (seeds removed)

Instructions

In a clean and dry skillet or tawa, toast the grated coconut and khuskhus on a low flame about 4-5 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove and cool.

Toast all the other ingredients together in the same pan or tawa over low heat, until aromatic and golden about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Grind all the ingredients together to make a smooth powder. Refrigerate in an airtight bottle.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/sunday-masala/