This is one of the most versatile spice blends. Mix it with yogurt to make a fantastic marinade for virtually any protein before it hits the grill—you can use it to make everything from tandoori chicken to tofu. It’s also fantastic as a dry rub on meats, sprinkled on fish, or even as a healthy seasoning for popcorn. The nice thing about my version is that it gets its red hue from natural ingredients, rather than red food dye.
1. Combine the dried chiles, coriander and cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, ajwain, fenugreek seeds, and cinnamon in a shallow, heavy pan over medium heat and dry roast the spices for 4 minutes. During the entire cooking time, shake the pan every 15 to 20 seconds to prevent the spices from burning. The mixture should be just toasted and aromatic. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
2. Place the cooled, roasted spices in a spice grinder or a powerful blender, such as a Vitamix, and process into a fine powder. Take your time, as this may take a few minutes. If your spice grinder is small, you may need to grind it in several small batches. Sift after grinding to refine the powder or use as is. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, and paprika to the mixing bowl and whisk to combine. If you add the turmeric when grinding, it can discolor the blender jug.
4. Store in an airtight (preferably glass) jar in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.