Masala Base with onions, whole spices, cashew and coconut milk
With every dish I cook in our cooking sessions I emphasize on learning the base sauces. Indian cooking has never been taught in Culinary Schools, it is taught by our families confined to the home kitchens, hence it has not been documented in terms of its parts, bases etc. And there is no way you will know the basics, as here only the ones who wish to pursue a career as a chef or cook go for professional training. If you just want to learn it for the sake of learning you will never get to know its secrets as either it is taught on Industrial Level in Colleges or it is taught in billions of households on a micro level. A common food enthusiast will never get a chance to learn Indian Culinary Heritage in some designed course.
My dream is to create Indian Culinary Academy that does not look for training people for Hotel Industry but give common people a chance of experiencing their passion for food and learn the Culinary Heritage of India. I don’t know if that will happen soon, so till then I will try to make it happen through my website. Hence emphasizing on Sauces is very very important. Learn the sauce–the base and not the dish only. Its like learning the theorems before to solving the problems in Mathematics.
So below we have Masala Sauce no 5. For more varieties of sauces check Yogurt base OR Onion-ginger-garlic base OR tomato-onion-ginger garlic base I made last night Paneer and Naan (Check in the last of this post for Naan Recipe, and start if before the masala. So your dough is rested well)
Lets gather ingredients for the masala paste as shown below for your base.
- one medium onion roughly chopped
- one little piece of ginger roughly chopped
- a few pods of garlic roughly chopped
- Cashew nuts 1 tbsp
- Whole spices 1/2 tsp cumin, fennel and coriander seeds (each), 1 big bay leaf, 1 piece of cinnamon stick, black pepper, cardamoms
- 1 tbsp of thick curd (beaten preferably)
- 1 tbsp of oil
Masala Paste :
- Heat oil
- Start with whole spices
- Add all other ingredients and saute on medium high.
- We are not looking to cook it completely. It is just to make the ingredients softer and half cook.
- The onions will get softer in around 2-3 minutes.
- Grind all these ingredients into a paste like below
Now this is can also work as a marinade. Especially for Chicken, just add salt and 1 tbsp of yogurt to turn it into a great flavor for your next grilled chicken.
Once the Paste is ready assemble the ingredients for next stage like in the below picture.
- Cubes of paneer
- 1 tbsp of yogurt
- Spice mix a pinch of turmeric, 1/4 tsp of chilli powder, 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
- Coconut milk or regular milk 1/2 cup to 1 cup
- 1 tbsp of ghee
Start with heating ghee and adding the powdered spices.
Immediately add the cashew onion paste to stop overcooking and burning the powdered spices.
Cook it well till you see the fat separates in the corners of the masala
Add Yogurt slowly and incorporate well, otherwise it will split.
keep stirring for a minute and then introduce either Coconut milk or regular milk to create a sauce like consistency. Immerse paneer cubes and simmer for a couple of minutes till you achieve a smooth texture.
Lets make a home made Naan with this beautiful sauce. Ideally, you should do the dough before you even start assembling your curry ingredients etc. So that by the time your curries are ready your dough is ready to roll
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp kalonji Seeds
2 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp of water.
Make the dough
Rest for ideally 30 minutes to an hour, covered in damp cloth
Re-work to smooth the dough ball and distribute in 5-6 small dough balls
Roll big Oval shaped chapaties.
Cook it just like chapati, butter it and serve it Immediately