Tag Archives: Indian cuisine

…….Have a Go{}at Masala….


SAM_3023I have got to say it my experience with goat is limited. I have probably eaten it two or three times in my life and cooked with it even less. Traditionally it isn’t something that seems to crop up on the average Indian restaurant menu, with Lamb or mutton being the meat of choice. If you look around on the internet again there is not much to be seen on the recipe front, and the ones that are there are for the Caribbean version…., surprised I am!

My thoughts and I admit they could be very wrong but goat is something that I thought of as perhaps more common in India than lamb, so why no recipes …………uh hu not so clever clogs, India is one of the largest producers of lamb and mutton on the planet not far behind Australia so I am told.

I kid you not if you will excuse the goat based joke.Boerbok Categorie:Afbeelding geit

Goat is of course a top meat and one that you find in a lot of  Asian, and eastern cultures that’s not of course forgetting the home of the goat curry the Afro Caribbean islands where goat curry is part of the everyday food, and often shares a table with that great chilli dish Jerk chicken, featuring that chilli of choice the hottest of the lot “Scotch Bonnet” handle with care.

That said goat can also be found on the table of the African and Arab nations although it is rarely if ever found on the average English or western table as a meat of favour, preference or choice. Lamb seems to hold that position in the nations affections but knowing what I do we are missing something that is delicious and healthy, well as healthy as meat gets!

My conclusion is that it’s main problem is that it is not freely available with the large chain supermarkets of the UK not appearing to stock it, and is only available from the local butcher on special order, I find this really strange as 75 percent of the world’s population eats goat meat.It is low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat. In fact, goat meat is over 50% lower in fat than beef in some cuts, and is about 40% lower in saturated fat than chicken, even chicken cooked with the skin off, so why no “commercial sources of supply, well you tell me as I have no idea, although I suspect its cooking time is a bit of the answer but more of that later.

So where do you need to go to get this fantastic meat?

Well the Hal Al butcher is the place it is on offer all day everyday, and therein I suspect lies the problem; you will generally only find these gentlemen in their own communities serving their own communities, that’s not to say you can’t go and buy………..Of course you can, it’s just that bit more strange, unless you live in that community. If you don’t know where to find one just check out the local Indian supermarket and ask them, they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

What I can tell you is that the meat you get if you ask for diced goat, is lean and rich in colour , it doesn’t come in a shrink-wrap plastic container  and at Mr Khans cost me about £9.00 per kilo, so great value too…

500 gm was enough for this dish to feed two.

This recipe is one of my creations, that is if any recipe can be claimed as ones own and is included here as an Indian dish in that  it offers much respect to the masala spice mixes, hence the name, I have also thrown in a few mushrooms at the end to make it that bit more interesting but the reality of the recipe is that it is about the goat not the veg, so if you don’t like the fungi don’t put them in…..

There is a long list of ingredients but don’t let that put you off the great majority are spices for the marinade. This is essentially a one pot cookery dish and very simple in its execution once its on the stove its a stir it every twenty minutes job, just to check its not sticking and that’s it….just sit and await the deliciousness, and yes be prepared to wait as goat is not a quick cook, long and slow is a must so don’t be in a rush, patience is a virtue, your efforts will be amply rewarded…..

The Marinade

Combine all the following

Plain Yoghurt

1  onion finely chopped and fried to translucent in a single tablespoon of Coconut oil

In a flat based pan dry roast the following until they offer up the aromas of india …. you know what they smell like?

1 tsp fennel seeds,

1 black cardamom

2 green cardamom

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seedsSAM_3011

1  Kashmiri Dried red

When roasted to their aromatic conclusion no more than a couple of minutes I suggest consign to a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder…..


add the following ground spices

1tsp garam masala,

1 tsp each of turmeric,

.5 tsp Red Chilli powder

large pinch asafoetida

.5 tsp Black salt

finally add the ground spices to the yoghurt… and then add to the spicey marinade

5 cloves garlic, crushed


1.5 inch Ginger, finely sliced, and chopped….

that’s the marinade done so…..

Cover the meat in the marinade, then get your hands in there and massage the marinade into the flesh, then set aside in a fridge to work for a minimum of 4 hours and overnight if you can!

Some hours later…tick tock tick tockSAM_3017

You will need to seal the meat before you go to the main cooking event so when you are ready remove the meat from the marinade and scrape as much of the marinade as you can of it back into the bowl, once done, set the marinade aside for later use….

Roll the meat in a tablespoon  of flour ensuring it is lightly coated, and then fry for a few minutes until you have some colour on the meat, once this is achieved set the meat aside and commence on making the sauce…..

The cooking sauce

1 onion, peeled & sliced

1 small tin chopped tomato

½ tsp salt to taste

1tsp Nigella seeds

1 tsp cumin seedsSAM_3019

10 curry leaves

1 tsp chilli powder

3 tbsp coconut oil

300 ml water/Lamb stock cube

1 tsp tomato paste/Puree

2 Green chillies, seeded and roughly chopped.

1 tbsp Jaggery or Brown sugar

1 cup coriander leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the curry leaves, cumin and Nigella seeds. Stir with a wooden spoon until the seeds begin to pop and froth

Add the onion and fry until golden brown.

 Add the jaggery after about 5 minutes to help the onion caramelise, until golden brown.

 Add the green chillies and cook for a further minute or two

Then add in the goat meat with all of the marinade.

Cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes.Add the tomato puree and continue stirring,

finally add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, cover, reduce to a low simmer and cook for about two and a half  hours or until the meat is soft and tender. SAM_3022Add more stock or water as you go if you think the sauce is getting too thick or sticking.

10 minutes from the end I threw in a handful of mushrooms as I like mushrooms but they are optional, other than that serve with rice or Naans but above all enjoy…..


Sema Baghaar…. Pulse & Pea Curry


 SAM_3001 When I started this blog I made a very sweeping statement that I would not use any “tinned” foods, followers  will by now know that I have failed in this aspiration in that I will always use Tinned tomatoes when I need a sauce enhancer,ganesh and always where a deep tomato flavour is required…….

This little recipe is another such example where a tin is to be considered mightier than the fresh variety. Here comes that word convenience, tinned pulses are convenient and come in a multitude of varieties all well cooked and in tip top condition and lets face it, undercooked pulses are no fun. However if you prefer to pre-boil and cook off all your beans and pulses don’t let me stand in your way and you can re-join the recipe after the hour or two you have invested in getting them just right…..moving swiftly on a tinned pulse is good to go here if a little more expensive so select whatever pulses work for you and open the tins rinse em off and put em aside… job done convenience sometimes rocks.

The curry base however is from the ground up, and as a base curry is brilliant with a multitude of other options for its use, fish, chicken, lamb, goat whatever it is just a fantastic base curry and one that will make your taste buds do the loop the loop in appreciation. The base being the point where you have the sauce finished, and are about to decide what you are putting into it, in this case the pulses, but lets face it pulses and beans are not always the most tastey of things and therefore for this dish to work you do need  some very robust favours. This curry base features lots of garlic onion, ginger, and some sweetness too; all these flavours are bought to the dish using a Bahaar which at its most simple is a cooking technique used in Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian cuisine, in which cooking oil, or ideally Ghee is heated and whole spices and sometimes other ingredients such as minced ginger root, garlic, and sugar are fried briefly to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance their flavors, before being poured, together with the oil, into the dish. In this case there is a powder spice element too just for that extra edge, so dive into this as it is something very special on the taste front and really not too fiddly if as always you are prepared before you start

The What’s in IT

1 lb of beans (2 cups)

the secret here is to use what beans you can get, and pretty much anything goes what follows is some ideas on what you COULD use ………these days supermarkets supply some top quality cooked pulses and these will do just as well as the dried varieties. However if you can be bothered then wash and soak the beans overnight and cook as you should…..

That said any combination of the following cooked is what you will need in the end to add to the sauce

Large lima beans, small white beans, red kidney beans, baby lima beans, great northern beans, speckled lima beans, black beans, green baby lima beans, whole green peas, yellow split peas, lentils, green split peas, small red beans, navy beans, blackeye peas, butter beans

1tbsp garden Peas

1 tbsp Sweetcorn

2 tsp Tamarind pulp

4 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped

6 plump Garlic cloves rough choppedSAM_2999

1.5 inch ginger finely chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

50ml (2 Fl oz ) veg oil

2 large Onions Finely Chopped

1tsp Mustard seeds

0.5 tsp Cumin Powder

0.5 tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 Tsp Garam masala

.5 tsp asafoetida

0.5 tsp Turmeric powder

Small tin chopped Tomatoes( 200gm ish)

1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar

300ml Vegetable stock

10 curry leaves

A drizzle of yoghurt to finish

Salt to taste

The How to

Take a tablespoon of the vegetable stock and add it slowly  to the ground spices and mix to a firm paste, don’t make this too thin as you are adding this to the Bahaar!

Start off by heating the oil in a flat based saucepan or karia add  the onions and fry for about five minutes then add half the Jaggery/brown sugar and continue cooking until the onion is a dark golden brown, this is critical to the sauce and will ensure that the colour is right, the Jaggery or sugar will help to caramelise the onion, and add a sweetness to the sauce, that will balance the heat of the chillies, you can add a tablespoon of stock if it looks like the onions are sticking.

Continue to cook and stir for another couple of minutes now is the time to add the spice paste that you made earlier and cook for a few minutes before adding  the tinned tomatoes stir well and bring back to the boil and allow to simmer while you prepare the Baghaar….

How to prepare a Baghaar

Heat the Ghee in a small saucepan on a high heat and add the cumin coriander and mustard seeds once they start to splutter remove from the heat for a moment and add the curry leaves garlic and ginger and green chillies and immediately return to the heat cook for a minute or two, on a medium heat add the rest of the Jaggery /brown sugar and stir well…… Not that tricky really now… add the Baghaar to the Tomato and onion mix and stir well together

Once the Baghaar  and onion mixes are united together this is the time to introduce the pulses, and as much of the Vegetable stock as you feel like to cook out the pulses , and thicken up the sauce to how you like it….

Add the tamarind pulp, garden peas, and the sweet corn….. SAM_3000stir well and turn the heat down and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Taste and season with salt, then……. serve with Naans chapati or tandoori chicken if you want some meat but whatever way you go its a delicious dish vegetarian or otherwise!

Salmon and King Prawn Pathia .. Go on spoil the one you love!


 SAM_2969 First things first this isn’t a budget recipe and therefore not one for the kids, Prawns and Salmon are not cheap where I come from, but the food police tell me the Salmon is good for me lots of Omega 5 whatever that is brain stuff I’m reliably informed. Fish wherever you buy it these days is not a cheaper option than meat that’s for sure but for those of us of a pescatorial persuasion such as I and Mrs Demonology, fish is the protein of choice.

This is a fantastic recipe none the less, delicious and as such one that should be reserved for the one that you love most in the world, they whoever they may be will not fail to be impressed by how deep the sauce flavouring is; so full of flavours and textures that bring the mouth alive in an explosion of curryness……., and further you will win never ending praise for your cooking prowess……… men take note, score big points with this one:)

Although the spicing ingredients are fairly complex it isn’t a tricky dish to cook, but as with all good recipes all you really need to do is ensure that you have assembled the ingredients before you light the stove; and just in case you thought there was a mistake there is no ginger in this recipe all the heat comes from the chillies and to be honest it’s hot and spicy enough enough with a  sauce  on the thick side, sourness coming from the tamarind, and a sweetness from the Jaggery just for good measure. Get those flavours how you like it and “POW” a fantastic dish and taste sensation for sure. Honestly though it may sound complex but its not…….

This dish serves 2 persons….

Whats in it

12 good sized raw Prawns peeled and deveined

2 Salmon steaks

2 tsp Tamarind pulp

4 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped

4 plump Garlic cloves rough chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

50ml (2 Fl oz ) veg oil

2large Onions Finely Chopped

0.5 tsp Cumin Powder

0.5 tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powderSAM_2962

1 Tsp Garam masala

0.5 tsp Turmeric powder

Small tin chopped Tomatoes( 200gm ish)

1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar

200ml fish stock

10 curry leaves

A drizzle of yoghurt to finish

Salt to taste

The How to

The first job here is to deseed the green chilles, and grind them together into a paste with the 4 garlic cloves and the cumin seeds…..SAM_2959

Heat the oil in your chosen pan and fry the onions until they are a nice golden brown colour at that point add the garlic, chilli paste, and fry off for a further couple of minutes…

At this point it is safe to add all those spices the cumin , coriander, red chilli, garam masala, and turmeric powders, and stir constantly for about a minute, you might need to add a drizzle of water here too just to stop the spices catching on the pan, then add the chopped tomatoes and cook on a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time…..

Add half the tamarind , all the jaggery/brown sugar and the curry leaves, and salt to taste…. Now you need to bring your palate into play and balance the dish to how you like it!

Add more tamarind if you think it needs more sour, or sugar/ Jaggery for the sweet, be carefull though and remember sometimes less is more. Don’t add anymore salt for the moment as the fish stock may well bring some saltiness to the recipe.

Add the fish stock in small amounts and simmer your finished sauce for about 5 minutes or until the sauce reduces to a consistency that in your opinion is little wetter than you would serve it at,  but wet enough to cook the fish through bearing in mind that you have about 10 to 15  minutes of cooking time left…

At this point add the Salmon SAM_2966cover and cook for about 8 minutes on a simmer level of cooking, if it is a little dry during the cooking of the fish you can add a little more stock, coating the salmon flesh with the sauce, then  turn the salmon over after the eight minutes and cook for a further five minutes or until the salmon is cooked and flaking nicely, adding the prawns about 4 minutes before you serve , remember that the prawnsSAM_2967

literally need no more than a couple of minutes so these should be added at the very end, the sauce should be nice and thick and unctuous when the ready to serve, finally add a little more salt if you thinks it needs it.

Add a drizzle of yoghurt when its on the plate and serve with rice Naans or traditionally Daal, whatever you like……SAM_2970Enjoy!

Is Kerala Ready for me….


Sometime in the next few days I am setting out on the ball ache of a journey that is the route to India from my front door, commencing with a twenty-minute taxi ride, followed by a four-hour coach journey to Heathrow airport, then several hours of tediously waiting around  at that last bastion of transportation and aviation, to then board an aeroplane to then be placed in my holding pen that the airline call a seat, for about Six hours before landing at Dohar which I am reliably informed is in Qatar,  an oil rich nation somewhere on the Arabian Gulf, where I will have to disembark for god knows how long, and then re-board yet another plane, oh much joy, to then  be placed again in an equally cramped, and uncomfortable airline seat to travel for yet another four hours in, yes you guessed it the upright  sitting position that is “Cattle class”.smiley-face-roti

If I am lucky enough to survive this and all being well crashes, delays, and technical hold-ups allowing, I will land in Gods own Country Kerala, sometime around eighteen to twenty hours after I leave my home in the bosom of England; the best part though is that once I get through that ordeal in travel  I get to remain there in Kerala, and yes I can hear myself relaxing already, for a couple of weeks of sunshine, food of the curried kind and the odd beer or two.

Yes Im am being a tourist and have  parked myself in a resort hotel, all mod cons, including air conditioning, scrupulously clean everywhere, swimming pools and a private beach,  the joy of a western toilet, and as much food and drink as I can stuff down all held together by  the hotel staff whose sole purpose in life is to ensure I am HAPPY 🙂

Come on give me a break I’m not a nineteen year old backpacker these days, and although the hotel is the base, and to some extent a place of safety from the jaw dropping extravaganza that is India; it is what is outside the front door that interests me, yep the jaw dropping extravaganza thats why I have put myself through the miseries of travelling cattle class to get there, having spent the last year accumulating the pennies, resisting the vice and temptation of the western world to get to this little corner of heaven for some memories that will hopefully last me the rest of my life..

I may be a grumpy old man, well thats how some define me but I will blog lots while I am there, reporting on my  trips to the restaraunts, toddy houses and food markets that cross my path. I am for all my faults a man of the modern world and will go equipped to blog… laptops and cameras at the ready, hopefully you will join me and mine through this journey and pass some comment as I go…..

The Western Coast


The West coast of India is a massive swathe of land that stretches from the state of Gujarat, through Maharashtra, and onwards towards the  wonders of Mumbai, and then down to one of my most favourite places on Earth Goa; it doesn’t end there going on through to the seaport of Mangalore in Karnataka and the historic Malabar region. There is even now a fantastic Railway that runs the entire length, so intrepid travellers can get a view of what some might call the Monsoon coast!India west coast_Map

Within such a vast piece of land the food is of course diverse to say the least, offering a variety of flavours and textures and being coastal the treasures of the sea feature heavily, with fish and coconut predominant in the diet of all the people’s that populate these lands.

That being a given ,one must not forget the wildcard that is the Portuguese whose rule and domination of this coast lasted many centuries, bringing to bear an influences on the dishes, culture and lives of all that it touched. Traditional Goan food which I must confess is the food that I know most about, having spent the majority of my time in India on the particularly beautiful stretch of coastal sand that  reaches a golden finger from Baga to Palolem and is in my opinion unmatched anywhere else in the world. Traditional Goan food is cooked in earthenware pots on wooden fires, this giving the food of the region a unique flavour that is very hard to copy, especially in a western kitchen. Goan food  is however the cuisine that is perhaps the most identifiable to the western palette and as such easiest to get your  head around. Goa is also a large enclave of the Christian faith, another Portuguese influence, and significant in that Christianity does not prevent the eating of Pork and beef as do many of the religions found throughout the great majority of Asia. Goa is also home to the Vindaloo curry that stalwart of the restaurant menu,and is often seen as a pork dish in Goa, but conversely mostly as chicken, or lamb within Europe and the rest of the world.

Another of the great dishes of the region that again features that stalwart of the meat eaters world Chicken is Caril de Galinha (click for recipe), however this is a dish that it is sadly very rare to find on a restaurant menu.

The state of Maharashtra lies in the west of the country and thanks to Bollywood boasts wealth and prosperity that is unknown in most parts of india , the cuisine of the area ranges from the most robust rural dishes through to those most elaborate and regal dishes favoured by the food lovers ofMaharashtra  Pune a city that is considered as the  little sister to Mumbai but the second largest city of the region; with Shrikand (click for recipe) that sweetest and most subtle of dishes being a firm favourite and is considered by many a a good rival to the western soufle, whilst if you want something with a little more clout then get your taste buds round a spicy lamb curry known locally as Mutton Kolhapuri,(click for recipe) fiery and fragrant and definitely not a curry for the faint hearted, and again not commonly found anywhere other than the domestic kitchen…..

Perhaps arguably the greatest city in India rests in this region Mumbai, not the biggest city in India but certainly one of the most cosmopolitan with many International interests all competing for a piece of the action from overseas banks and utility call centres, through to the most humble of street side subsistence farmer selling some excess veg for a few rupees.  The city has growmumbai-slumsn massively over the years with the British influence here since the Raj playing a huge part, with now other multi National interests all clamouring for a piece of the action of a cheap and plentiful supply of workers.  The population of the city runs into millions, from the slums of Dharavi, featured in Slum Dog Millionaire, a massive  conglomeration of dwellings that operates almost as a city in its own right; through to the palatial mansions that can be seen in the better areas of the city.

Street food is Mumbai is the order of the day with so many hungry mouths to feed. In the west we have MacDonald’s on every street corner, in Mumbai they have Pao Bhaji (click for recipe), a deliciously simple vegetable curry served with Bread known locally as Pav, and cheap enough to fill an empty stomach and something that can be found everywhere you would expect to find hungry people better still priced at a level that most can afford, filling and tasty, but if your going to try it leave it til the end of your trip as the health and safety of the kitchen that provides it cannot be guaranteed. There is of course a wide variety of street food available and yes I would encourage you to try, the samosa the bhajis and the chapatis, blindingly delicious if a little risky…..but lets face it a life without risk is no life at all….

Curry Land

Curry Land

The problem with the food of india is that India is vast absolutely humongous, some 1.2 billion souls occupying the seventh largest land mass on the face of the planet. That said the food of the regions of India is as different and diverse as the food and cuisine of the European nations. I use Europe as a comparator if only as a pointer that Europe could be fitted into the footprint of India several times, and the dishes relevent to those nations are as different as those of the states and territories of the  indian main land

Curry Land as a series of articles is about getting into that geography and some of the other stuff that floats my boat about what is a fantastic country, that I have visited on many occasions and a place that wherever I go whenever I am there and whoever I meet continues to surprise me.

The food of this great country as I have already suggested is extremely diverse and from now all of the dishes that I publish as recipes will be credited and linked to this set of articles, provided I of course have gotten round to writing the article that is and those will be  a constantly shifting and edited landscape of information as I like you, learn the nooks and crannies of this very complex dynasty of flavours and ideas.

I hope you will take the time to ask questions and of course pass opinions on the things I write and if I get things wrong put me right I am always willing to learn!

Fillin The Dabba

masala daba

So many spices to choose from

Whats a Dabba Masala I hear you ask… well a vital piece of kit of the storage kind, air tight and designed to keep your spices dry and Fresh. Expect to Pay no more than Twenty Quid for the often round tin that contains Seven 100g pots. The ideal size as the refills for spices come in 100g bags as a rule , these seven pots being for your favourite and oft used spices

If your starting out on the journey that is Indian Cookery it will be good to take a moment to understand what does what and why.

There are firstly three elements to any Indian style dish you cook or create, well not just Indian but all food taste,is the first element, well that’s obvious it needs to taste good . Smell oh yeah, curry must smell like a curry with an aroma that will take you away to the places and times you remember, be that after a night at the pub and on top of the fourteen pints of lager,  or on a tropical beach in downtown Baga or Arpora Goa,  it matters not; Indian food should evoke memories. Get these spicy elements right in the dishes you create and you have it cracked, learning how to balance these spices is the real secret to Indian cookery…..So what should you stick in you nice new Dabba, here’s my top seven, they may not be yours but they are a good place to start!.


Number 1 on your Dabba Trail I suggest is Garam Masala, this is firstly a blend of spices and chefs of repute make their own and guard their  list and percentage make-up very carefully, but if you do not wish to be that brave yet you can buy the commercial blend in any supermarket, and it is as good as you will need to get the job done, so fear not!

Masala blends of which there are many are used throughout Indian cuisine and some of the most popular ones can be found in my article on Masala mixes

If you want a recipe and some tips on how to make your own let me know!

However for the sake of understanding Garam Masala is a principally an aroma spice although it is sometimes very difficult to seperate as spices by the pure nature of the beast will affect both aroma and taste

Garam means heating in this context, and Masala means spices, so Garam Masala creates  heat in the body and is made up in most cases by grinding together  Cinnamon, Cloves, Black Pepper, and Black Cardamon, these being the essentials to any Garam Masala although these days it is not unknown for some cooks to also add Green Cardamom to the mix, as a  cooling spice. In reality the mix to some extent is down to you, and I have many recipes for spice mixes and as time goes on I will begin to share them all with you!

Next in your Dabba because your cooking curry is Chilli powder and lets face it most curries although not all rely on chilli in one form or another.

For the moment choose a rich coloured red curry powder and hot, as this adds the fire and colour to your curry. Powders should always be added during the second part of the frying sequence there’s a whole article coming up on Chilli of all kinds in the not too distant future so watch out for that one, but for now a good quality hot chilli powder blazing red will do the job.

Next is that most Yellow of the powdered spices and an absolute must that is used in “almost” every curry

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – Bright yellow in color, turmeric is known for its many medicinal properties and gives a yellow tinge to dishes, found inalmost all and is very good for the digestive system as it also has antiseptic qualities

Coriander Powder (Dhaniya) – coriander, also referred to as cilantro, can be purchased as whole seeds or a powder and is used in both South and North Indian cooking. In a pinch, you can substitute coriander seeds for the powder and vice versa.

Cumin Powder (Jeera) – cumin can also be purchased as whole seeds or a powder, which are also interchangeable, and is used in both South and North Indian cooking

Mustard Seeds – these little black balls  Rai are commonly used in South Indian cooking as part of the tadka and are known for their digestive properties.  They release their full flavor when popped, almost always added as the first ingredient to be fried for a few seconds in cooking oil before popping,the reddish-brown ones sarson are more commonly used in the north and east of the country.

Curry Leaves – these are leaves of the Kari Plant and the fragrance and flavor that these leaves add to the South Indian tadka is spicy, fresh and comforting. You can purchase these fresh at an Indian grocery and, although not ideal, you can freeze them or dry them. I broke down and bought a curry leaf plant, which I’ve been cultivating in a pot indoors.

There are of course hundreds of herbs and spices, and what follows is a list of the few that I hold and have had reason to use for one reason or another. I guess I got a bit obsessed in that I went out and bought a box full of plastic air tight bottles, which I have labelled accordingly,I have still only scratched the surface as there are many more available and as I said I will continue to collect them as I come across a reason to buy them!

Some of them I have in the whole and the ground types, and some I have never used the list is my favourites and as such is not representative by any stretch of the imagination of all that you can own or buy , but the principle I work on is if I have it in store I don’t need to go out and find it firstly to buy it.

I have linked as many of the following  to Wiki pages for those of you that wish to know the facts behind the name , so go on get stuck in its a world of spices.

The following list is nowhere near complete and I will as time develops continue to edit and update this page with information text and “Indian” or recognisable names, My guess is this could end up being a lifetimes work , so dip in here when you want a quick explanation of whats what in the whacky world of spices!

Asafoetida, kn0wn as the Devils dung  a pungent little substance that gives curries that curry smell, in reality it is a resin from a tree Ferula Asafoetida, and is used in minute quantities a pinch at most as a general rule, and is used primarily as an anti Flatulent.

Cardamon Black

Cardomon Green





Klowunji seeds(Nigella)


Mustard Seeds

Poppy Seeds


Star Anis