Monday, January 1, 2018

Indian Masala Paste

I have said this many times before but nothing compares to making sauces, packet mixes and pastes from scratch.  Not only are they free from all those nasty preservatives, flavourings and colourings but there is that added sense of achievement that you actually made it yourself.

To be honest, I can go months without purchasing a shop prepared bottle, can or packet mix  - I've always been a huge fan of making my own and providing healthier ingredients for the family.  Don't think I am casting judgement as at times if I am time poor I have used them I just prefer not too.

Making homemade curry pastes are particularly rewarding.  Some are complex and some are surprisingly easy.  When you achieve that authentic flavour and use it in cooking you know you are on a winner.

This curry paste, I have to say, was quite easy although there seems to be quite a list of ingredients.  The fragrance coming from the herbs that were cooked were amazing.  In fact the family thought I was cooking the curry when I made this not just the paste.

The only difference that I have noticed making this Indian Masala Paste, and with other pastes, is that it didn't have the red colour of the store purchased jar of cooking paste or simmer sauce.  That my friend has added red food dye or additives/colours to make it look appealing.  Please remember it's not about the colour (as this paste doesn't really look the best) BUT it's about the taste.

Due to the lack of all the preservatives, additives and colours homemade pastes have a much shorter shelf life than the pre-made ones.  But that's perfectly natural.  For example this recipe will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week or even better you can freeze it.  I tend to only make up small quantities just before I am about to cook the curry, sometimes a day or two ahead for the flavours to develop.  Cook as directed in the recipe you choose to follow and you will have a wonderful homemade curry completely from scratch.

I am using this paste as part of Chicken Tikka Masala.

Indian Masala Paste
(Recipe sourced from

Makes: 1 cup
SmartPoints per tablespoon: 0

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (hot) chilli powder
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
1/4 cup malt vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place mustard seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook for 1 minute or until seeds start to pop. Add peppercorns, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and cinnamon. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Allow to cool completely.

Place spice mixture in a food processor. Add chilli, garlic, ginger, vinegar and oil. Process until a smooth paste forms.

 Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

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