Thursday, April 29, 2010

Understanding Masalas for F.Y B.Sc
Remember the last time you had a great biryani, chicken tikka or paneer makhani, what was it that made the experience so mouth watering!
Was it the masala?
Every kitchen commercial or household generally has a “hatri” or masala trolley to store different masalas; this is an integral part of creating that particular cuisine.
Spices can be divided according to the following classification
Dry Ground

Single Blends Single Blends
Spices can be the seed(Cumin),Flower(Clove),Resin (Asafetida),Leaf(Mint),Bark(Cinnamon),Root(Turmeric),Fruit(Amchoor),Stigma(Saffron) etc. coming from plant sources. Other not so common categories include mineral salts like black salt, Fungus (Dagad Phool or patthar ka phool).
Some other flavorings apart from Spices but equally important can be. Acids (Nimboo ka sat or Citric Acid), Oils (Sesame oil, Mustard Oil), Essences like (Kewra or Screw pine/Rose).
Masala can be defined a blend of various ingredients including spices. It generally contains spices (e.g. coriander powder, chili powder) +Thickening agents (e.g. Khus khus, cashew paste etc.)+acidic medium (tomato, yoghurt etc.)+liquid (coconut milk, stock etc.) .Some ingredients play more than one role like tamarind gives sourness and also acts as the liquid)
The Following chart has information regarding individual Spices.

The next Step is to understand Spice blends, these blends can be dry/dry roasted/crushed/fresh/ground etc. Every chef/Cook/Household/Proprietor has their own approach to these blends, these blends are highly guarded secrets in some cases .some blends are preparation specific Like Chana Masala, Mutton Masala, and Gram Masala. Some blends are cuisine /region/community specific like Malwani Masala, Chettinad Masala, Goda Masala, Parsi dhansak masala etc.

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