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Easy Indian Cookbook
by Manju Malhi
(Geela Masala) The pungent coriander and cumin, spicy black pepper, and nutty brown mustard featured in this curry paste create an authentic taste of southern India.
Makes 7 to 8 tablespoons
Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus cooling time
Cooking Time: 7 minutes


• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
• 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 6 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and chopped
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1 tablespoon turmeric

HEAT a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add the peppercorns and the coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds and roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until you can smell the aroma. Watch the spices carefully so they do not burn. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately tip the spices onto a plate and let cool completely.

2. TRANSFER the spices to a spice mill and blend until finely ground, then set aside.

3. POUR the oil into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chili powder, and turmeric and stir well. Add the freshly ground spices and fry, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute until the oil separates.

4. REMOVE the pan from the heat and let the paste cool completely. Transfer the paste to an airtight container and store, away from direct sunlight, up to 6 months.

Green Masala Paste
— Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat, add a 2-inch piece cinnamon stick or cassia bark, 9 black peppercorns, 4 cloves, and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and roast until you can smell the aroma. Watch the spices carefully so they do not burn. Immediately tip the spices onto a plate and let cool completely, then put them in a spice mill and blend until finely ground, then transfer to a blender. Add a 2-inch piece peeled and chopped gingerroot, 5 chopped garlic cloves, 2 chopped green chilies, 1 chopped onion, a handful cilantro leaves, 9 mint leaves, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and blend until a coarse, light green paste forms. Store as above.


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