To make your own blends — be it for pulao or channa masala…

Aromatic, colourful, rich… spice blends have an air of mystery about them. Making your own spice powder at home is an easy way to indulge your creativity in the kitchen. It is also free from additives, and allows you to create blends to your personal preference — less spicy, light on salt... Here are few simple recipes for home-made spice blends.

Garam Masala Powder

Ingredients

Half cup cumin seeds

1 cup coriander seeds

4 green cardamoms

2 cinnamon sticks

3 or 4 black cardamom

5 cloves

2 star anises

3 or 4 bay leaves

Half tsp dry ginger powder

Half tsp black cumin seeds

1 tbsp nutmeg

Method

Heat a heavy skillet on medium flame and gently roast all ingredients except dry ginger till they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not turn up the heat as the spice will burn on outside and remain raw on the inside. When spices are roasted, turn off the heat and allow them to cool. Remove cardamom seeds from their shell and mix them with all other roasted spices. Grind them together to a fine powder.

Pulao Masala Powder

Ingredients

12 cloves

4 cinnamon sticks

4 cardamoms

4 bay leaves

4 star anises

10 black peppers

1 tbsp fennel

Method

In a flat frying pan, dry roast all ingredients on low heat till crisp or for around 10 to 12 mins. Allow them to cool. Grind to smooth powder. Make in smaller quantity for fragrance and freshness.

Channa Masala Powder

Ingredients

1 tbsp dry mango powder

1tbsp coriander seeds

3 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp black cardamom seeds

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp cloves

4 sticks cinnamon

8 red chillies

1 tsp rock salt

Method

Dry roast all ingredients except dry mango powder and allow them to cool. Add mango powder and grind to smooth powder and sieve.

Kofta Curry Powder

Ingredients

Half cup coriander seeds

1 cup cumin seeds

5 cloves

2or 3 black pepper

1 tbsp fennel

1 tsp fenugreek

2 to 3 green cardamoms

2 black cardamoms

5 dry red chilli

3 or 4 cinnamon sticks

2 bay leaves

Method

Roast above ingredients for a few minutes on medium flame. Allow to cool. Dry grind in a mixer.

Tea Masala Powder

Ingredients

1 tbsp cinnamon sticks

5 cloves

2 black peppers

3 green cardamoms

1 black cardamom

1 tbsp dry ginger powder

Half tbsp nutmeg

Method

Roast all ingredients except dry ginger powder on low heat till they turn fragrant and crisp. Cool and grind with dry ginger powder. Sieve the powder.

(Store all the powders in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place)