Just about anybody has heard of garam masala, that warming Indian spice mix that often finds a way into curries. I discovered another type of masala when looking through an Indian cookbook I have at home, a variety I hadn’t heard of. Salan masala. Curiosity got the better of me so I set out to make it. The original recipe called for two ingredients I’ve never seen go into spice blends – dried rose petals and sandalwood, but unfortunately neither of the two spice shops in my neighbourhood stock either of them. Bummer. After a little tweaking I formulated my own blend of spices, creating the most aromatic and perfume-like spice powder I’ve smelled.
As with most masala blends, this one should be added towards the end of a cooking procedure to retain its aroma. It’s a bit like giving yourself a final spritz of perfume before heading out on the town!
Recipes where I’ve used salan masala
Makes 1/3 cup
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 black cardamom pods (½ tsp seeds)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp mace flakes
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Alternatively use a mortar and pestle. Store the masala in a jar in the pantry.