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  Life   Food  07 Jul 2017  Aromatic Spices

Aromatic Spices

Published : Jul 7, 2017, 12:34 am IST
Updated : Jul 7, 2017, 12:34 am IST

Check out these delicious spice mixes and dishes made with them – all from MasterChef Pankaj herself.

There are a few core spices that are used in Indian food that give it the unique aroma that lingers for days.
 There are a few core spices that are used in Indian food that give it the unique aroma that lingers for days.

Spices play a very prominent role in Indian cuisine. There are a few core spices that are used in Indian food that give it the unique aroma that lingers for days. Winner of MasterChef India season 1, Pankaj Bhadouria, in her recent book The Secret’s in the Spiced Mix — Fifty Unique Home-Made Spice Mixes with Recipes, reveals many secrets about various spices and their uses.

“The book took me about a year to complete. It was a revelation of sorts! I got to discover a lot. So much that was there with me in bits and parts got compiled in one place. It was an interesting journey of collecting recipes, trying them out, setting recipes to go with those spices and then trials again, the photography and then seeing them all come together on paper!,” said Pankaj when asked about the genesis of the book.

In the book, Pankaj mentions that she has travelled across the country and had the opportunity to taste many mouth-watering Indian dishes, various cuisines have to offer. Ask the chef about her personal favourite, and she quips, “So many of them! Nadur yakhani from Kashmir, iddiappams and stew from Kerela, patti shapta from Bengal, chhole-kulche from Amritsar — the list is long!”

We have here, a few of Chef Pankaj’s special recipes for you. Try these recipes and enjoy with your loved ones!


Spice: Lazzat-e-Taam
One of the secrets of Awadhi cuisine is the lazzat-e-taam, or a potli masala that the chef carries with him wherever he is invited to cook.


  • 2 tbsp anise seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 12 green cardamoms
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 4-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 15 cloves
  • ½ tbsp allspice
  • 3 tbsp dried coconut powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1¼ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp dry fennel leaves
  • 7 tsp fennel seeds
  • 25 fox nuts
  • 1 tbsp dried lemongrass, chopped
  • 2 mace blades
  • 2 whole nutmegs
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 4 tsp dried rose petals
  • 1 tbsp sandalwood powder
  • 1 tbsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp kewra water
  • 1 tsp mitha ittr

Lightly roast all the dry ingredients in a pan, on very low heat, until lightly fragrant. Remove from the heat and grind. Sieve the power to separate out the husks.

Mix in the kewra water and mitha ittr and mix well. Sieve again. If the masala is still moist, dry indoors.

Store in an airtight container.

Dish: Saalan Subz Baadami Khaas
A true flavour of the kitchens of Awadh.


  • 1 tsp lazzat-e-taam
  • 50 gm beans, diced
  • into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 2 medium carrots,
  • diced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 green chillies, slit
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • ½ cup shelled peas
  • 8 baby potatoes, peeled
  • 100 gm almond, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 6 green cardamom
  • 25 gm chironjee
  • 1 2-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp kewra essence
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • 50 ml cream
  • ½ cup curd,
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste, Oil as required

Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions until golden brown. Remove and fry almonds and chironjee in the same pan until golden and keep aside. Roast the poppy seeds on a tawa till lightly fragrant. Blanch all the vegetables except potatoes. Fry the potatoes until golden.

Grind half the almonds, poppy seeds and chironjee into a smooth paste. Now grind the fried onions separately, into a fine paste.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and caraway seeds. When the spices splutter, add the kashmiri red chilli powder and ginger-garlic paste and some water. Once the raw smell is gone add the fried onion paste, almond-chironjee paste, white pepper powder and cook for five minutes.

Add slit green chillies, curd and salt and cook for a few more minutes, stirring continuously. Now add the cream, kewra essence and rose water and mix well. Sprinkle the lazzat-e-taam. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.


Spice: Kolhapuri Masala
Kolhapuri cuisine is fiery food. The secret lies in the use of the locally grown red chillies called sangli sannam, which is way up the chilli heat index!


  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cup grated dried coconut
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves, grated dried coconut and fennel seeds separately, and keep aside to cool. Heat the oil in another pan, and add chopped onions and garlic, and sauté till golden. Then remove from heat.

Cool all the ingredients and grind them along with the salt and red chilli powder, to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container.

Dish: Kolhapuri Tambda Rassa
The word ‘tamba’ means copper-red colour, which is the colour of the ‘rassa’ or the gravy. Traditionally, the gravy and mutton are served in separate bowls.


  • 2 tbsp kolhapuri masala
  • 1 kg mutton
  • 4 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 3 black cardamoms
  • 3 2-inch pieces of
  • cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 cup oil
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

Wash the mutton pieces and marinate with turmeric powder, salt and ginger-garlic paste. Set aside for an hour.

Heat two tablespoon of oil in a pan and add cloves, black cardamom and cinnamon. Allow it to splutter. Now add half of the sliced onions, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, coconut and poppy seeds, and sauté till the coconut turns light brown. Remove from heat and grind to a smooth paste.

Now heat some oil in the pan again and add the bay leaves, rest of the onions, and sauté till the onions are golden. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, tomato and salt and cook till the tomato is mushy. Add the marinated mutton and mix well.

To this add four cups of water, ground masala paste and the Kolhapuri masala and mix well. Cover, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or till the mutton is completely done.

Remove from the flame and add two tablespoon of ghee, cover with a tight lid and set aside for 10 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Tags: indian cuisine, awadhi cuisine, kolhapuri masala