City Palate

City Palate - The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene since 1993

THE HARVEST ISSUE - September October Issue 2018

One Ingredient: MASALA

by Julie Van Rosendaal

Masala is a tough thing to write about if you haven’t grown up with someone cooking it for you, or had the opportunity to submerge yourself in south Asian cuisine, learning the intricacies of a masala as a foundation for everything from curries to tea. Masala isn’t one single ingredient, but a layered combination of ingredients; it refers to a spice mixture and could be a dry spice blend – cumin, coriander, chile powder and turmeric are common – or a moist combination of onions, garlic, ginger and chiles that, together, often with dry spices as well, build the base for a flavourful curry. There might be cardamom pods or mustard seed, warm spices like cinnamon, allspice and clove, amchoor (dried green mango powder) or asafoetida, the dried resin of a rhizome that boosts umami and has a flavour reminiscent of leeks. Most south Asian home cooks have a masala dabba in their kitchen – a round metal container with smaller containers inside holding whole and ground dry spices, like a painter’s palette.


Noorbanu Nimji’s Garam Masala

Vij Family’s Chicken Curry

Bengali Masala-Spiced Granola

Chai Kanelbullar


Read One Ingredient in the digital issue of City Palate.