India is a land of spices. It is a country where most of the world’s spices grow and are exported. As a result, spices have always been an intertwined part of Indian culture. They have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. So much so that it is impossible to imagine any dish without its essential blended spice powder known as Indian masala.
Visit any Indian spice store, and you will find an exhaustive range of Indian masala blends stocked up on the shelves. Every Indian region has unique cuisine which uses a unique blend of spices. So India has dozens of spice blends to offer. While each spice has significance in a particular dish, and not all can be used in all dishes, here are five popular Indian spice blends you should add to your kitchen pantry.
Essential Indian blended spice powder you should consider stocking up
Garam masala literally translates to hot spices, is a blend of some of the essential Indian spices used in almost every dish. This Indian masala contains spices like black pepper, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander, mace, and other aromatics. Depending on the different parts of the country, you will find a variety of ingredients. And none of them is wrong. All garam masala varieties cater to the specific regional cuisine used. That said, any variety can perfectly flavour any dish, and you don’t have to buy all types of garam masala.
Tea was introduced to India by Britishers in the colonial era but known for its culinary significance, Indian spices got their way. Indians became a fan of spiced tea, so much so that a new masala blend called chai masala was created. Chai masala is made of sweet spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper, which adds a depth of flavour to sweet, creamy, milk-infused tea.
Biryani is one of the most loved rice dishes in the world. And the masala powder that flavours the dish is one of the most popular Indian masalas out there. So if you frequently make biryanis at your home, this blended spice powder is a must-have ingredient you should have in your kitchen. Biryani masala consists of an array of spices and herbs that complement each other and adds a unique flavour to the dish.
Tikka masala is a spicy and fragrant blend of spices used to make famous North Indian Tikka recipes like chicken tikka, paneer tikka, fish tikka, and mushroom tikka. This blended masala is a fine mix of cumin, coriander, black peppercorns, Kashmiri red chillies, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric powder, dry mango powder, and black and green cardamom. This unique melange of spices creates flavour notes that reflect the results.
Butter chicken masala
Butter chicken, or Murgh Makhni, is one of the most popular chicken dishes from Indian cuisine. Thoroughly cooked tender chicken coated in a rich, creamy gravy packs an intense flavour punch. The orange-yellow tinge and delectable flavours come from flavourful butter chicken masala made of various spices. This unique Indian masala blend incorporates every essential spice used in the cuisine, giving it a complex flavour profile that delights every palate.
Haleem is an Arabian dish cooked with wheat, lentils, and meat. It came to Indian lands by middle-eastern traders in the Mughal era, and since then loved and devoured by generations of Mughlai cuisine epicures. In India, known as the land of spices where flavourings are abundant, haleem received its dedicated Indian masala version called Haleem masala. This spice blend is a unique amalgamation of spices that combines the taste of meat and gluten in wheat and lentils.
Chicken or Mutton Masala
This Indian masala is popularly used for basic chicken and mutton masalas. Created with intensely hot and flavourful spices, this blend offers fiery flavour to various non-veg dishes, including shrimp, fish, and more. Like other Indian masalas, there is no uniform way to make this one. Instead, every region and household uses various spices in different quantities, creating unique flavour profiles. This means you will find different flavours in different dishes made in different regions and households.
Definitely not last and not least as well, chaat masala is another popular spice mix made especially for snacks and salads. Unlike other blends discussed above, chat masala does not have a melange of spices. Instead, three to four black pepper dried mango powder and black salt is enough to make this one. However, there could also be other variations, depending on the different easily regionally available spices in India.
As India is a home of spices, you will find an array of spice blends in different parts of the country. This surely makes picking some essential ones a daunting task. In that case, the essential Indian masala mentioned here could be your starting point. If you don’t know where to get these from, we are here for you. Kitchenhutt is a leading spice supplier in South Africa, offering flavourful Indian masala nationwide. Visit our website and book your order now.
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