Sunday, 26 October 2014

Green masala paste

This is another one from The Balti Bible and is amazingly intense, fresh, & flavoursome. It's one of the key ingredients in jalfrezi; you can also stir a tablespoon or two into cooked lentils to make a dahl, add a teaspoon to any curry at the end instead of / as well as fresh coriander, mix a quarter teaspoon into 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise for egg mayonnaise... it would probably do well being stirred into cooked veg, too. A little goes a long way. If you accidentally lick the spoon (as I invariably do), your head blows off with herb intensity.

1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of ginger (that's about 2 inches)
30g mint leaves
60g fresh coriander
100ml vinegar (any kind)
3 teaspoons of salt
3 teaspoons of turmeric
2 teaspoons of chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (or whole, dry-fried and ground)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds (or whole, dry-friend and ground)
150ml vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

Stick blender & a big jar or jug to blend in OR a jug blender
Sharp knife & board
Jar(s) to put it in -  about 600 ml total

(You could, conceivably, with a knife and a mortar & pestle and an inconceivable amount of patience and arm-and-wrist strength, do without the blender. Surely people must have, before blenders. You could go completely electricity-free and do this by candlelight.)

Keeps apparently forever - I haven't tested that, I keep most of the extra in the freezer and whatever is in current use in the fridge. And I try to avoid giving it too much air exposure.
I made triple quantities, thanks to a windfall of herbs, so the quantities shown in the pictures is a lot more than you'd need normally. (It made four and a half 400ml jars!)

Soak the fenugreek seeds OVERNIGHT - so you need to do this bit the night before.

All the other ingredients, including the Herb Windfall of coriander and mint from Tahmid Stores on the Cowley Road. Buying herbs from a grocer is MUCH cheaper than the supermarket, if you want quantity.

I was using whole cardamoms and cloves, so dry-fried them first - you can just see the steam starting to wisp up from them, which is the signal to...

... dump them into a cold bowl to cool. When they're cool, grind them up in a jug blender. Coffee grinder would also probably work and flavour the next batch of coffee nicely

Peeled the ginger and roughly chopped it, peeling the garlic cloves

The ingredients that need the most pulverising go in first - the garlic, ginger, and fenugreek seeds.

A big kilner jar & a hand blender is the easiest way to do all this

Adding the vinegar, with my fancy-schmancy old-fashioned measurer (actually Will's). You need the liquid to blend the garlic, ginger, and fenugreek.

Add the oil to the mix, blitz, and...

...bring forth the mint! Very roughly chopped, as it'll be blended.

Mint stuffed into the kilner jar. I blitz that before adding the coriander, because it mulches down nicely and makes it easier on the blender to do it in stages.

Enter the coriander. I use all the stems that aren't woody, and one of the 3 bunches is almost all stems - I chopped off the leaves for a curry a couple days before. That's fine, stems are plenty flavourful for this.

The coriander stuffed into the kilner jar, plus...

...the ground turmeric, chilli powder, and salt. So PRETTY!

Admire the pretty!

Even though the jar kept getting filled to the brim, it ends up half full. (I was actually using 2 kilner jars as I was making so much.) Next...

Decant into smaller jars, with less air exposure, and label. My triple quantities filled 4 1/2 jars, so I'll keep the half-jar out and put the rest in the freezer. Jars courtesy of Sainsbury's black olives (A pot-scourer got the original labels off.) TA-DA! Have fun.

Oh, and if you're doing curry-spice kits for Christmas, you could pop little jars of this in along with the garam and Balti masala

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