Maharashtrian Goda Masala (Spice Blend/Mix)

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Goda Masala is a very important and major ingredient in Maharashtrian cuisine. Maharashtrian cooking is incomplete without it. In fact, Goda Masala and Kala Masala is the star & reigns supreme in the traditional Maharashtrian kitchen. It is the base for most Maharashtrian curries, vegetables and dals (aamti in Marathi).

Every Maharashtrian is proud of their very own Goda Masala. Traditionally, this spice blend is made using a large mortar & pestle known as ‘Khalbatta. ‘The spices are pounded manually but now electricity is also used to work the mortar & pestle. The use of mortar & pestle helps to control the pounding and thus the release of oil in the spice mix.

Homemade spice blends are usually made in the summer & enough is prepared to ensure there is a full supply for the entire year. We all know that fresh homemade spice blends are always superior to store bought ones.

Goda means sweet but in this case it means a perfect blend of lightly roasted sweet aromatic spices which is not overpowering & intensely spicy.  Goda Masala is a speciality of Maharashtra and has a heavenly fragrance which makes you feel so calm. While cooking just a pinch or two of the divine Goda Masala added to a dish transforms it to a sublimely delicious one. This earthy, dry seasoning/masala blends equally well into meats, seafood, vegetables, rice, lentils/dals and pulses. If you are using this wonderful Maharashtrian Goda Masala while cooking, the aroma will waft in your entire house and your neighbours will feel something special is happening in your home!

I use Goda Masala/Kala Masala very often. In Pune, we get very good quality and fresh Goda and Kala Masala which is easily available. Various Maharashtrian homemade masalas/spice blends prepared by my neighbours during the hot summer months especially the Goda and Kala Masalas, brings back those sweet childhood memories while I write this post. I remember distinctly two of my neighbours had the age old mortar & pestle which I now recollect was antique! It was such a lovely sight when all the neighbourhood ladies would come together & help each other in pounding while there would be pleasant exchanges & laughter.

Those who have never used this masala and those who do not have access to it must try making it at home. Just remember to use it sparingly as just a little goes a long way… Brighten and enliven your food with this unique spice blend and you will find your family and guests drawn to the dining table! :D

Ingredients :

  • 250 gm. dry Coriander Seeds (Dhania) (sorted & cleaned)
  • 4 Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi)
  • 6 inch Cinnamon Sticks (Dalchini)
  • 10 Cloves (Lavang)
  • 2 tbsps. Black Peppercorns
  • 6 Bay Leaf (Tejpatta/Tamalpatra)
  • 2 blades Mace (Javitri)
  • 5 gm. Star Anise (Badyan/Chakra phool)
  • 5 gm. Lichen (Kalpasi ; also known as “Black stone flower” or “Dagad phool”)
  • 1 tbsp. Cobra’s Saffron (Nagkeshar/Mesua ferra)
  • ½ tsp. Caraway Seeds (Shahijeera)
  • ½ cup Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
  • 2 tbsp. Asafoetida pwd/pieces (Hing)
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric pwd./dry pieces
  • 50 gm. dry Whole Red Chillies
  • 50 gm. White Sesame Seeds (Til)
  • 1 cup grated dry Coconut
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Salt

Procedure :
Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in a wide bottomed kadhai/wok/pan.

Add one after the other the following spices – cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, badi elaichi, javitri, nagkeshar, star anise, dagadphool and bay leaves.

Fry lightly and continuously for a few seconds.

Then add the jeera, shahijeera, turmeric, hing and fry for a few seconds.

Drain and transfer to a bowl.

In the same wok, roast the dry red chillies and transfer to a separate plate and mix in salt.

Now roast each of the following separately till light brown in color – dry grated coconut, white sesame seeds.

Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in the same wok and fry the coriander seeds till light brown in color.

Now, put the first lot of spices in a dry blender and grind to a fine powder.

Add the salted dry chillies  and grind again. Transfer to a bowl.

Grind the coriander seeds to a fine powder.

Mix all the ground spices together and blend/grind once again. Set aside in a bowl.

Now dry grind the dry grated coconut & sesame seeds till the mixture is fine; almost like a paste. Add this mix to the powdered spices.

Blend with your fingertips till well mixed and give the entire lot of blended spice mix a final turn in the blender/mixer.

Store in clean sterilized jars; preferably glass bottles/jars.

Use when needed. This will keep well for over a year.

Tips :

  1. It is important to roast the spices in the order mentioned above as some spices tend to burn or some may not roast well.
  2. The degree of heat to which the spices are roasted/fried determines the texture and aroma of the final spice mix/blend.
  3. It is better to store in smaller bottles/jars to retain the freshness & aroma of the spice blend.
  4. Storing in glass bottles helps in retaining the fresh aroma besides it prevents the spice mix from turning rancid.
  5. It is important that the dry coconut is of good quality or it may affect the taste, flavor & freshness of the spice blend.
  6. If in doubt, it is better not to add coconut in the spice mix but you may roast & make a paste separately & add while cooking.
  7. Nagkeshar/Mesua ferra/Cobra’s Saffron and Dagadphool/Kalpasi (Lichen) does define the final spice mix but in case it is unavailable then it is fine to skip it.

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