Spices, to define them technically, are dried seeds, fruits, root, bark or vegetable substance that is used as a flavoring, thickening, and preserving agent. If I have to define them philosophically, they are the heart and soul of Indian cooking. They have always been an integral part of Indian culture and play an important role in enhancing the richness of this ancient civilization along with our music, art, clothes. You would find mention of spices in ancient Hindu scriptures like Rigveda. Spices have been part of Indian cuisine since time immemorial. Many of these spices like pepper, cloves, cinnamon originated in India, while others like star anise, sesame, saffron were introduced later as trades were setup, new kingdoms were established, older kingdoms destroyed.
Spices are added to the food items to make them more delectable and piquant. These spices are available in so many forms like whole, powdered that are available in a simple grocery shop or raw and fresh form that is available in vegetable market. We have been so used to adding these spices that we add them to our daily preparations without any second thought in some form or the other. A well-equipped Indian kitchen would have different variety of spices stocked. We not only store these individual spices, but more prevalent practice now a days is to store the blend of these spices (more commonly known as masalas).
There is not one specific formula of a successful masala (spice blend). Indian cuisine boasts of several such masalas and each of these masalas characterize the states or regions to which they belong. For example, the most famous masala which everyone seems to know about is Garam Masala. This is a North Indian spice blend of those spices which are considered warm (garam means warm). Apart from Garam Masala, every regional cuisine has their own masalas which is a combination of those spices which are native or found in plenty in that particular state or region. For e.g. Koli Masala from Koli (fishermen community in Maharashtra) cuisine, Kanda Lasun masala from Kolhapur, Panch Phoran from Bengali cuisine, Chat masala, tandoori masala, Goda Masala and many more. It would be a humungous task to note down all these masalas and their ingredients.
We have made an effort to document some masala recipes on our site. However, it is very important for me to mention that nobody in India can claim that their masala recipes are authentic. If someone does that, you can very well call it a bluff. Every household in India has their own version of masalas. They alter the ingredients or sometimes may totally skip some ingredients based upon its availability. The best test would be to try the masala in your food recipe and if it suits your taste you can very well go with that spice blend.
Last week, when we were expecting some guests at our place, we decided to make Masale Bhat for them. One of the chief ingredients of this recipe is “Goda Masala”. This is a native spice blend of Maharashtra. It is a combination of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, white sesame seeds, coriander seeds, coconut flakes, cassia buds, dagad phool (lichen). These spices are roasted in small quantity of oil, and grounded into a fine powder. The resulting spice blend can be stored in an air tight container and used in some authentic Maharashtrian recipes. I would reiterate here, that no body including myself can claim to have the authentic version of Goda Masala. I would however mention here with great delight that I had made almost 500 grams of Goda masala and shared it with all my friends, team mates, and my neighbors seeking their feedback and all of them were impressed by the aroma and flavor that this masala could add to their recipes. My friend Sharvari from Nagpur did mention that her mom’s version of Goda masala is similar to mine, but she also adds Niger seeds (karale/Khurasani) to this blend. As I said, everyone has their version of Goda Masala. However, I can say this with much certainty that homemade version of Goda masala is significantly better than commercially available Goda Masala, so I hope this blog encourages you dear reader to make this traditional spice blend from Maharashtra and to spice up your recipes.
- 250 grams whole coriander seeds
- 125 gram desiccated dry coconut
- ½ cup white sesame seeds
- 50 grams whole dried red chilies
- 8-10 black cardamom
- 3 star anise
- 1 tbsp cloves
- 1 tbsp stone flower
- 3 tbsp black cumin seeds(shahi jeera)
- 1 tbsp cassia buds(Nagkesar)
- 5-6 bay leaves
- 3 inches of cinnamon
- 15 gram turmeric powder
- 15 gram asafoetida crystal
- Cooking Oil
- Dry roast desiccated dry coconut until it turns brown.
- Keep the dry roasted coconut aside.
- Dry roast white sesame seeds until it turns brown.
- Keep the dry roasted sesame seeds aside.
- Remaining Ingredients must be roasted in a pan greased with 1 tsp oil.
- Roast coriander seeds until they become light brown.
- Keep the coriander seeds aside.
- Similarly, Roast other Ingredients in the pan. Grease the pan with 1 tsp oil if required.
- Heat some oil in a vessel.Fry asafoetida crystals in the oil for 1-2 mins till it changes its color.
- Allow all these spices to cool down.We will make a fine powder using them.
- Grind sesame seeds, desiccated coconut and salt in a grinder.
- Now grind coriander seeds into a fine powder.
- Grind all other ingredients(roasted in oil) in a grinder with turmeric powder and asafoetida crystals.
- different masala powders are ready.Let's mix these 3 powders together.
- Goda Masala is ready. Goda masala can be used in gavar (cluster beans) veg preparation and stuffed bhindi (okra).Goda Masala is also used in Masale Bhat.
Click here to watch this recipe video