This home made Fish Masala spice blend is perfect for your spicy fried masala fish, Cape Malay Pickled Fish and oven baked masala fish recipes.
It is far superior in freshness and flavor to the packaged fish fry masala powder spice mixes in supermarkets and is gluten free and without wheat or corn based fillers. Many store bought fish masala powders also include wheat flour and / or corn flour as an ingredient. These act as fillers as well as to keep it dry and prevent clumping.
The best thing about making your own fish masala powder at home or any spice blend for that matter, is that you can make it fresh in small batches and there are no chemical additives or colorants. This dry masala recipe includes red chili powder, turmeric, fragrant cloves, cinnamon, garlic and ginger.
In our home my mother made wet masalas from scratch but because of the amount of cooking and entertaining that she did she normally bought most of her dry spices in bulk. One of my dad’s cousins worked at a spice factory and I remember that she would buy the spices at the factory for my mum. Usually cumin, coriander, fennel and turmeric as well as a variety of spice blends for barbeque chicken or meat.
I realized when I was planning to make this Cape Malay Pickled Fish recipe that the ingredients on the brand of masala for pickled fish that I brought with me from Cape Town was very vague. I had no idea what was in it aside from the occasional cumin seed and bay leaves.
I then bought a packet of fish fry masala powder for marinating the fish at the shop downstairs in my apartment building, and reading some of the ingredients made me queasy. It seemed that some of the ingredients were added specifically to preserve and extend the shelf life of the product.
Even though I did not know how to make a fish masala powder recipe, I decided at that moment that I would make my own small batch home made fish masala spice blend from scratch. That way I could control what went into it and it will be easier to replicate the flavor, wherever I am in the world. I used this masala for the pickled fish and it is also suitable for the Baked Salmon steak and spinach salad.
The ingredients for the fish masala powder recipe are all in your store cupboard. Red chili and turmeric is this dry rub for fish give it a warm color and the cinnamon, garlic and ginger add warmth to the flavor.
How to make Fish Masala powder
Homemade masala spice blends are fragrant and a delight to the senses as long as you ensure the following:
- Make small batches of homemade fish masala powder if you don’t use it frequently, so that there are no leftovers that will go stale after a few weeks.
- Use fresh whole spices.
- Use pure fresh powdered spices. Use a clean dry pan to dry roast the whole spices.
- Remove the pan from the heat when you see the first wisps of smoke at about 2-3 minutes and stir off the heat in the pan to continue frying the spices for another minute or two.
- Allow the roasted spices to cool before grinding or milling
- Mix together the ground and powdered spices.
- Store in a clean dry spice jar.
Home made Fish Masala spice blend
- 15 ml coriander seeds (approximately 1 level tablespoon)
- 5 ml fennel seeds (approximately 1 level teaspoon)
- 5 ml cumin seeds (approximately 1 level teaspoon)
- 5 ml black peppercorns (approximately 1 level teaspoon)
- 4 cloves
- 15 ml red chili powder (approximately 1 level tablespoon)
- 2.5 ml garlic powder (approximately 1/2 level teaspoon)
- 2.5 ml ginger powder (approximately 1/2 level teaspoon)
- 2.5 ml cinnamon powder (approximately 1/2 level teaspoon)
- 2.5 ml turmeric powder (approximately 1/2 level teaspoon)
Dry roasting whole spices
- Add the coriander, fennel, cumin, black peppercorns and cloves to a small pan dry clean pan and dry roast on medium heat until it smells fragrant.
- Remove from the heat when you see the first wisps of smoke at about 2-3 minutes and continue to stir it off the heat in the pan to continue frying the spices.
- Let the roasted whole spices cool before grinding.
- If using a pestle and mortar, grind the spices until it is a fine powder, or as fine as you can.
- If using an electric spice grinder, pulse the spices until it is a fine powder. Try not to let the motor run for so long that the spices start to heat up, as it ruins the flavor.
- Add the chili powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, cinnamon powder and turmeric powder to a bowl and mix in the freshly ground spices.
- Use immediately or decant into a container with an airtight lid and store until required.
Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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