Give your kitchen an edge with traditional seasonings from home makers and F&B experts
It’s not everyday that you decide to cook up a feast, so why settle foranything but the best? And besides, with the masalas that these experts have concocted (some with recipes handed down through generations), even your humble rasam will have an edge over the rest. Read on for blends with Kashmiri chilli, vazhathandu and more.
Love the flavour of whole spices? Then Spice Dip’s potli masalas are just for you. Shalini Muthukumar’s blend of whole spices wrapped in a muslin cloth, are ideal to perfect the spice levels of a dish. Choose from her range of potlis for biryani, curries and gravies. Thumbs-up to her range of rasam potlis (horsegram, pepper and thippili) that include ingredients like roasted and powdered toor dal, tamarind powder, curry leaves, jeera, etc. All it takes is a good infusion in boiling water to create a tasty rasam. The biryani potli is rich with star anise, kal pasi, dried pudhina and more, and Muthukumar also has a special potli that can be used in foods for babies. At Rs. 130/pack of three. Details: 9710800766
Sindhi Biryani Masala @ Aynavaram
With over 75 orders a month, Anisa Arif’s spice brand, Zaiqa, is an official hit. Her blends include the popular tandoori masala, rajmah masala, dhaba kadai ghosht and more. We particularly like the chole masala which is a careful blend of 33 ingredients. The Sindhi biryani masala spells exotic with its hint of dried plums and black cardamom, among others. Sourcing spices from estates in Kerala, the mixes come packed in ziplock pouches and can be couriered across India. For pure spice flavours sans chemicals or colouring agents, Arif’s wide range is for everyone. From Rs. 150/100gms onwards. Details: 9940555657
Kumbakonam Masalas @ Triplicane
Sharing their family secrets is Jayanthi Raghuraman’s Sai Kailash Homely Foods, which makes their popular Brahmin sambhar and rasam blends on order. Through her grandmother’s recipes, this popular outfit has also brought back traditional mixes like ellu podi (white or black) karuvepillai podi and angaya podi that is considered a health booster for women, thanks to ingredients like dry ginger, pepper, sundakkai, vaeppam poo, etc. But it’s their sambhar powder that wins hands down for its careful balance in proportions of red chilli, coriander seeds, fenugreek, turmeric, mustard, etc, that imparts a rich colour and aroma. From Rs. 220/kg onwards. Details: 9444170338
Chettinad Masalas @ MRC Nagar
Since 2009, Kanadukathan-native Sivakami Subbiah has been known for her Chettinad catering, through which she has started selling masala blends too. Subbiah sells Chettinad special masalas for meen curry, egg curry and chicken pepper curry. The taste is reminiscent of authentic Chettinad food — with the use of trademark pepper, jeera and fennel seeds, and careful roasting and hand pounding of the masalas at home. To ensure freshness, the masalas come in small packets ideal for a couple of uses only. Also authentic are her sambhar powder, vengaiarasi maavu and adi kumayam maavu (a traditional sweet dish). From Rs. 25/packet onwards. Details: 9840510695
Armed with tips from her grandmother, Dhanalakshmi’s range of masalas is rapidly becoming popular. Choose from speciality blends of bisi bele baath and mutton gravy masala — the former complete with Kashmiri chillies and desiccated dried coconut from her own farm. And while her puliyogre mix comes without tamarind, we like the inclusion of ingredients like white sesame seeds, asafoetida and groundnuts. Do look out for her instructions on how to use and store them. From Rs. 60/100gms onwards. Details: 9003196363
Andhra Masalas @ Nandanam
Lakshmi Prasanna’s traditional Andhra masalas are addictive. To make your staple potato rice or beans poriyal interesting, simply sprinkle on some of her peanut curry masala or red chilli and garlic masala. Ideal for kootus made of gourd vegetables, is her sesame curry masala, with its flavour of sesame, cumin and gingely oil. And so tasty and fresh is her coconut curry masala (ideal for stuffed okra or brinjal) that customers from as far as Egypt and Malaysia are regulars. Also try her spicy gun powder (perfect with idlis) and paruppu podi to pair with steamed rice. From Rs. 35/100gms onwards, they come in vacuum sealed packets.
* Lakshmi V makes a special vazhathandu podi alongwith tasty Brahmin sambhar and rasam powders @ Rs. 40/100gms onwards. Details: 9786732437
* Kavita Jain’s homemade paruppu podi and idli podi @ Rs. 20/100gms onwards. Details: 9381702619
* Terra Earth has organic sambhar powder and sesame and curry leaf powder @ Rs. 105/150gms onwards. Details: 9940638931
* Kavitha Murugan makes aromatic garam masala and kuruma masala powders @ Rs. 225/250gms onwards. Also try her homemade turmeric powder and sukku malli podi. Details: 900316276