A couple of firsts here… I usually never, ever get my act together to post a recipe for a spice blend or masala, I am better with single ingredients or main dishes. This is ironic, considering one of very few rules in my classes or home is that, thou should try to seriously avoid pre-ground spices or masala.
Why? No, it is not because I am just a purist. LOL! Can be please dispel that thought, but the truth of the matter is that spices are important and essential to flavorful cooking. Fresh spices are better than stale ones, and spices lose their flavor with time and ground spices lose their flavor faster, ok make that much faster than whole spices. So, really between the trade off, between 15 minutes of organized time to grind a spice mix and 118% percent higher flavor, who are we kidding, any day I shall grind my own. Those 15 minutes are so… worth the wow and flavor factor!
If you are still not sure, please, just once repeat after me, “I can grind my own spices, and they do taste much better than pre-ground ones.
How about, we try and test this theory with Biryani-Pulao Masala. This seasoning is essential a rice seasoning, that can be used in good measure for other seasonings such as curries and even marinades. This is a very arromatic dish and should be used in small amounts to impart a rich tasting fragrance to all rice based Indian dishes such as a birayani.
The essential purpose of this spice blend is to add a combination of gentle warming flavors that offer a balanced seasoning base for a complex one-pot rice dish.
My variation here is simpler than some, but one that I feel works comfortably for most of the biryanis that I tend to make which are usually presented in a somwhat lighter and less complex vien. A secret here is that I actually made this in my class last Sunday, which prompted me to write the recipe.
Biryani Pulao Masala - Rice Seasoning Mix for South Asian Rice Dishes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 1/3 cup
Stays: Well in a cool dark place for upto 8 months
11/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
11/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 dried red chilies
1/2 teaspoon green cardamom seeds
1 large stick cinnamon
2 star anize
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoons cloves
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Method of Preparation
1. Place all the ingredients in a small heavy bottomed pan and dry roast the spices or about 45 seconds to a minute, the spices should smell fragrant and be warmed though, but not start turning brown.
2. Turn off the heat and place the spices in a spice or coffee grinder and grind until well blended.
3. Store in an air-tight container in a cool place and use as needed.