Masala Rack

Baharat- North African Spice Mix- Garam Masala



My precious little loomi / has been pounded to smithereens. It is now a part of the baharat I was planning to make for ages. A baharat is a North African Spice mix, almost exactly like a garam masala and in fact this one could very well be, except for the high amount of nutmeg and the loomi. It is used to flavour meat dishes but a sprinkling of it will add taste to a plain pulao or vegetable dish as well. I would even put a pinch of it on a raita. This particular recipe has been given by Shaid who is a student from Bahrain and so it should be pretty authentic.

Ground spices

1 1/2 tsp ground loomi ( dried black lime )
1/2 tsp zafran / saffron
1 1/2 tsp dhania / coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp jeera / cumin powder
1 tsp ground kala miri/ black pepper
1 tbsp lal mirchi / red chillies ground. I used sankeshwar chillies but you can use whatever you like.
1 1/2 tsp dalchini /cinnamon powder
1 tsp powdered lavang / cloves
1 tsp powdered elaichi / green cardamom
1 tsp jaiphal/ powdered nutmeg

I ground each ingredient seperately in the coffee grinder so that they were all about the same size and then mixed the lot together.

When used in Lebanese and Syrian food, the baharat tends to be used a little more generously than we do garam masala- 1 tsp where we would use 1/4 - 1/2 tsp and up to a tablespoon in a lamb and bean dish for 12 people. Recipe  and results for the lamb and bean experimental concoction will be posted soon.


Goda Masala-Maharashtrian Spice mix


Every year my mother would get her years supply of masala from a little old white haired woman who lived on the corner of Fergusson College Road and Bhandarkar road. She ran what was known as the Anand Khadya Vastu Bhandar. As soon as we entered, in fact from well around the corner, we could smell the spices. The building was made of granite stones , typical Pune solid stuff, with wooden balconies running the length and width of the building.The kota floors were swept completely clean and shone,and the spices filled each room.From here we got our Goda Masala, stone ground by a happy, chatty lot of bai's in nine yard sarees.

This is how every mother-in-law made sure her son would always have food 'like mama made it" She gave daughter-in -law the source of her masala.
Many years ago AKVB shut down but goda masala is sold at every general and provision store in Deccan Gymkhana, one of the best being available at P.Y. Vaid on Fergusson College Road.

The main reason why home cooked food tastes different from house to house is the way in which these masalas are made. The amounts of spices and the degree to which they are roasted makes all the difference.

Recipe for Maharashtian Goda Masala

250 gms small green dried dhana / coriander seeds

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp badi or masala elaichi/ cardamom
2 tbspdalchini/ cinnamon
1 tbsp lavang / cloves
6 tej patta/ bay leaf
5 gm badalphool/ star anise
5 gm dagadphool/ lichen
1 tbsp nagkeshar/ Cobra's Saffron-Mesua ferra

1/2 cup jeera/ Cumin seed
2 tbsps hing/ asafoetida pieces ( or powder)
1 tsp dried haldi / turmeric pieces.(or powder)

50 gms dried red chillies
1 tbsp salt.

50 gm til / sesame seeds
1 cup grated copra / dried coconut

Sort and clean coriander seeds.
Heat half the oill and add the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves , nagkeshar, star anise ,lichen, bay leaf one after the oher. Fry lightly, then add the cumin, the turmeric and asafoetida pieces.Keep aside.
Now roast the red chillies and keep aside. Add the salt to the red chillies.,
Roast the following seperately till light brown in colour- grated copra, sesame seeds.
Heat the rest of the oil and fry the coriander seeds in it till light brown in colour.
Now put the first lot of spices in a blender and grind till fine.Pound the red chillies into small bits and add to the mixture along with the salt.
Take out and grind the coriander seeds till it makes a fine powder.
Add to the other spices and grind/blend all together again.Remove and set aside.
Grind the copra and sesame seeds till it makes a fine paste. Add the paste to the dried maalas and blend with finger tips till it as well mixed. Give the entire lot of spices one final turn in the blender.
Bottle in clean sterilised jars.
This will keep for well over a year.

This recipe was given to me by friend Sudha who makes it regularly from a recipe ( with a few changes according to her taste) by Jayashree Deshpande. Her book "Humkhas Paksiddhi" is published by Nitin Prakashan, Pune email: