Ingredients :

Brinjals : 500 Gms.

Fresh Grated Coconut : 200 Gms.

Coriander Seeds : 60 Gms.

Dried Red Chillies : 10-12 nos.

Sliced Onions : 2 nos. large

Green Chillies : 3-4 nos.

Garlic Cloves : 8 nos.

Sesame Seeds : 4 Tbsp.

Turmeric Powder : 1 Tsp.

Tamarind Paste : 100 Gms.

Jaggery : 2 Tbsp.

Curry Leaves : 10-12 nos.

Black Mustard Seeds : 1 Tsp.

Chopped Coriander Leaves : 2-3 Tbsp.

Vegetable or Peanut Oil : As Required

Salt : To Taste

Method :

Cut the brinjals lengthwise almost into quarters; make sure you do not cut off the stem so as to keep the brinjal whole with a cross cut running the entire length.

In a Kadhai add enough oil to fry the brinjals till brown.

For the Bagara Masala Paste :

In 1 Tbsp. oil saute the sliced onions, coriander seeds, red chillies. Add these to the coconut and garlic. Dry roast the sesame seeds and add to the coconut mixture. Also add the turmeric powder and tamarind paste to the coconut. Make a paste of all these ingredients.

In a Tbsp. of oil add slit green chillies and add the paste and saute till the fat leaves the sides. Than add the brinjals, jaggery and salt to taste. Add water as required to get a sauce-like consistency. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. This masala tends to stick to the bottom of the pan, so make sure that you keep stirring the pot every few minutes. Then add the chopped coriander leaves and remove.

Tadka :

In a small pan add 1 Tsp. oil and when hot add mustard seeds. When they start to crackle add the curry leaves and pour this over the curry. Mix well.

This can be served with Rice or Parathas.

P. S.Vegetable Variation – You can make a tadka of mustard seeds, green chillies and curry leaves. To this add mixed vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, green peas etc. Then add the bagara masala and salt to taste. Cover and cook till the vegetables are done. Then add chopped coriander on top.

Sambar Masala Ingredients Photo by Alaivani @ flickr

Sambar Masala Ingredients Photo by Alaivani @ flickr

No South Indian feast is complete without the Sambar. The Sambar, according to Wikipedia, is a lentil and vegetable stew or a chowder based on a broth made from Tamarind and Toovar Dal.

The Mumbaiites are believed to have been introduced to the Udupi cuisine in the early 1930’s with the opening of Cafe Mysore in Matunga, a suburb of Mumbai.The owners are from proper Udupi, as opposed to most other ‘Udupi’ restaurants, which are run by Shettys from or around Mangalore.

The difference in the Sambar from these Shetty-run restaurants is that the sambar has been modified to suit the taste buds of their local clientele. They have created a sort of sweet vegetable dal that is suitable for their local clientele. As a result, it has lost its authentic flavor. The Sambar that you get in Udupi is a lot more pungent, aromatic and flavorful.

In my house, sambar is made in a large quantity so as to last atleast 2 days. The first day is spent eating it with idli, dosa etc. The next day the taste of the sambar develops (matures) and all the subtle flavours come to the fore and vie for you attention. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to a plate of steaming white rice.

This is going to be a two part series as first I will put up the Sambar masala and then explain how to make the sambar.

So here goes –

Sambar Masala

Ingredients :

Coriander Seeds : 250 Gm.

Dried Red Chillies (Sankeshwari + Bedgi = 50:50) : 250 Gm.

Turmeric Powder : 25 Gm.

Asafoetida (Hing) : 15 Gm.

Cumin Seeds : 75 Gm.

Black Peppercorns : 50 Gm.

Mustard Seeds : 50 Gm.

Split Black Gram / Black Lentil (Urad Dal) : 100 Gm.

Split Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) : 100 Gm.

Raw Rice : 50 Gm.

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi) : 20 Gm.

Curry Leaves : one bunch

Method :

Dry roast the ingredients individually and then powder them. Keep the masala in an airtight jar and use as required.

A friend of mine gave me this masala recipe. I had been on the look out for this recipe for quite some time. Earlier I saw the recipe for this bottle masala in a book but it had only about 10 ingredients, but I had it on good authority that the original recipe has more than 20 ingredients. So I was very happy to finally lay my hands on this recipe. Hope all other gourmets on the look out enjoy this as well.

Ingredients :

Dried Red Chillies : 2 Kg.

Coriander Seeds : 500 gm.

Whole Turmeric : 50 gm.

Cumin Seeds : 125 gm.

Mustard Seeds : 50 gm.

White Poppy Seeds : 125 gm.

White Sesame Seeds : 125 gm.

Fennel Seeds : 25 gm.

Black Peppercorns : 125 gm.

Green Cardamoms : 75 gm.

Taj (Ceylon Cinnamon) : 125 gm.

Cloves : 50 gm.

Black Cardamoms : 25 gm.

Nagkesar ( Casia Buds) : 25 gm.

Mace : 25 gm.

Nutmeg : 2 no.

Maipatri (Mugwort) : 25 gm.

Badian / Badalphool (Star Anise) : 25 gm.

Trifal (Sichuan Pepper) : 25 gm.

Tamalpatra (Tejpatta / Indian Bay Leaf ) : 25 gm

Dagadphool ( Lichen) : 25 gm.

Kababchini (Allspice) : 25 gm.

Shahi Jeera (Black Cumin) : 25 gm.

Whole Asafoetida (hing) : 25 gm.

P.S. Dagadphool. This is a dried lichen used in Indian cooking. (Latin: parmelia perlata.)

Method : Saute the masala ingredients individually in little oil to let them release their flavours and then mix them together and grind to a fine powder. Alternately you can also dry roast the ingredients. Take care to crush the asafoetida, turmeric and nutmeg into smaller pieces before sauteing or roasting them.

Garam masala is one of the main ingredients in Indian cuisine. A meal, especially a North Indian meal, can never be complete without the sprinkling of garam masala at the end.
The first thing you notice about the masala is the aroma. It has a sort of hot pungent heady aroma which lingers in the air long after you have closed the container of the masala powder.
Garam masala is a blend of spices usually used in Indian cooking not only for flavour but for the aroma it lends to the dish as well. A simple biryani or pulao with whole garam masala added for its unique aroma is something to be experienced as it cannot be described. “Heavenly” comes close.
Here is a blend that can be used for everyday use. There are other, more aromatic blends, but those will be posted later.

Ingredients : –

Coriander seeds – 8 tablespoons
Cumin seeds – 4 tablespoons
cloves – 10
black peppercorns – 3 tablespoons
cinnamon – 3-4 inches
black cardamom – 3-4
turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
green cardamom – 4
dried red chillies – 6-8
bay leaves – 2-3

Method : –

Roast the ingredients separately on a griddle til they release their unique aroma. Then powder them together.


Dried Red Chillies 1 kg, Coriander Seeds 1/2 kg,

Cloves 20gm, black Peppercorns 50gm,

Fennel Seeds 100 gm, Cumin Seeds 25 gm,

Shahi Jeera(Black Cumin Seeds) 25 gm,

Masala ilaichi(Black/Brown Cardmom) 50 gm,

Cinnamon Sticks 50 gm, Dagad Phool 50 gm,

Nag Kesar 25 gm, Black Mustard Seeds 25 gm,

Dried Turmeric Root 25 gm, Badal Phool 10 gm,

Whole Asafoetida Stones 25 gm, Nutmeg 2 Whole,


Break the turmeric,asafoetida and nutmeg. Other than red chillies, coriander seeds and nutmeg, saute all the other ingredients in a litle
oil individually. Lastly saute the chillies and coriander seeds and them make a fine powder of all the ingredients together. Will keep in an air-tight container for a year.



Coriander Seeds 200 gm

Kopra ( dried coconut) grated 100 gm

Sesame Seeds 100 gm

Cumin Seeds 25 gm

Shahjeera ( caraway seeds ) 5 gm

Naag kesar 5 gm

Asafoetida 10 gm

Bay Leaves 10 gm

Dagadphool 10 gm

Whole Turmeric ( halkund ) 2-3

Dried Red Chillies 50 gm

Cinnamon Sticks 5 gm

Cloves 5 gm



In a lightly oiled wok, roast each ingredient separately till it releases its aroma. Roasting allows the volatile oils in those masala ingredients to be released, which gives the masala its real flavour. After roasting allow it to cool down a little and then pound into a fine powder. You can also make the powder in a food processor but pounded masala has avery different flavour than the processor one.

If you don’t want to use oil at all, do what I do when I am in a hurry. Add all the masala ingredients in a roasting pan and put it in a hot oven (150 degree C) for about 20-30 minutes. The result is almost the same.


P.S. All those ingredients will be readily available at your nearest Indian grocery store.

If anyone knows what naagkesar is called in English, do let me know.


Coriander seeds 2 cups
Red chilli powder 2 cups
Cumin seeds 1 cups
Amchur(Dry Mango) powder 2 tsp
Green Cardamum 25 gm
Cassia Cinnamon 25 gm
Cloves 25 gm
Black Cardamum 20 gm
Black Peppercorns 10 gm
Fennel seeds 2 tsp
Bay Leaf 2 no
star Anise 10 gm
Caraway seeds(shahi jeera) 25 gm
nutmeg and mace a pinch
Black salt 1 tsp
Dry roast all ingredients except the powders then blend all the ingredients to get a powder.
Serves 4-6 people.