Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Maharashtrian Kaccha (raw) Masala

Lagna-cha Masala

When going thru a new cookbook, I always go to the TOC to check if there is a section on condiments/ masalas etc. Most cookbooks on regional Indian cuisines do have such a section and usually provide a preview of the cuisine.

For various reasons I hadn't ever read the small section at the beginning of each Ruchira volume which presents simple masalas along with basic techniques used in cooking such has making a one-thread sugar syrup (ek taari paak). The main reason I skipped the part on masalas is that my Aai is the main supplier of home-made masalas.

Tucked away in this section was the recipe for a masala called kaccha masala. None of the ingredients are fried or roasted, hence the name (kaccha=raw). Even after it was made, I wasn't sure of this masala. Though the masala was quite aromatic on its own, it didn't have any special zing to it.
I first made a masale bhaat similar to this one but making sure to fry the masala before adding the vegetables and the rice.

At the very first whiff one is transported into a wedding mandav (pandal), right in the midst of the bustling, anxious folks from the girls side, and the uber relaxed, glad-we-don't-have-to-work-as-hard folks from the boys side, the rustling silks, the glittering jewelry, the cumulative fragrance of mogra, zhendu (marigold), chandan (sandalwood), agarbattis (incense), and kaapoor (camphor), small kids randomly running around, conversations that begin with 'Did you hear...?', gossips exchanged or started, everyone except the bride and groom having a gala time.

Right there I knew that this masala would have to be rechristened to Lagna-cha Masala.
Use the masala in a rassa such as this or this or Ashwini's masale bhaat (mentioned above) or Manasi's version of Ashwini's masale bhaat!

Here is a slightly modified version of this masala.

Kaccha Masala (Lagna-cha Masala)

½ cup coriander seeds (dhane)
¼ cup cumin seeds
1 tbsp kala jeera
12-14 cloves
2 1-inch cinnamon sticks

Grind the ingredients in a spice grinder to a get coarse powder.
Store in an air-tight container.

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