Maharashrtain Kala masala (spice mixture)

DSCN5843 copy

Masala’s are an essential ingredient in any Indian recipe. Many people think there is only one Garam Masala(which is a perfect blend of specific spices,namely,cloves,cinamom,cardamom,bayleaves,cumin,peppercorns and so on,roasted and ground to powder) for many, but in reality every local cuisine in India has their own secret blend ,specifically used in respective traditional recipes. The year round of Masala is ground and given to me by my mother. It is used only a pinch or two as it is very strong and hence a small quantity also goes on for many days. I use it in any non-veg or some vegetables. I don’t use any other garam masala as this has a very strong flavor and very nice aroma. This is my mom’s recipe and she quits coconut, sesame and poppy seeds as they leave oil when drinded and hence the masala will not last for many days and will smell oily when kept for many days.


Kala Masala:-

Kaala masala is a Maharashtrian spice mixture (masala). The Maharashtra region has quite few varieties of masala which distinguishes Maharashtrian food from other aromas and flavours of India. Stronger and spicier flavours are significant aspects of Maharashtra. This special masala makes it easy to prepare Maharashtrian items like usal, varan and masala bhat.

The Kala Masala has a distinct aroma and flavour, and tastes best in hot and spicy curries, traditional Baingan Bharthas and Non Veg Curries. The aroma the curry boils with the masala added is magical and very appetising. Most households make their yearly stock during summers. The masala has a very dominating and strong aroma, so make sure it’s added to the curry in measured amounts to prevent overpowering the base taste, especially when cooking with vegetables.

It might be a little hectic making Kala Masala, since each of the dry ingredients need to be roasted seperately,cooled and then ground, However, all the effort just seems worth it , when you savour your hot and spicy curry.

It is the base for most Maharashtrian curries and dals (called aamti in Marathi). To make goda masala the spices are roasted using oil. All spices are roasted till they become darker in colour and then ground to a powder. When the spices are roasted enough for them to be dark brown (almost black) in colour when ground, it is called ‘Kaala Masala’. ‘Kaala’ means black in Marathi, and hence the name. The difference between ‘Kaala Masala’ and ‘Goda Masala’ is due to the proportions of certain spices and the degree to which they are toasted. The recipe and name for this masala can vary from family to family but, the basic ingredients or the flavor will never change drastically. It is very easy to make, it can be stored for several months, and the most important thing….a little goes a long way!

There has been a lot of confusion regarding kaala masala/goda masala, so I tried to find out more on this. According to my research, the proportion of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, elaichi, and dalchini (garam masala ingredients) is more in kaala masala and that generally, dried coconut (khobra) & sesame seeds are not used. Also, the spices are toasted to a darker colour to make Kaala masala. Hence, goda masala is slightly lighter in colour than kaala masala. Again, this may vary family to family. My mom’s recipe of Goda/kala masala skips the dried coconut, sesame seeds and poppy seeds only because, coconut starts giving out an oily smell if kept for too long.


What do we need: - (For approximately 100 gms of Masala)

To dry roast:-

50 gms Coriander seeds (Dhane/dhania)

25 gms Cumin seeds (jeera)

10 gms Caraway seeds (Shahi jeera)


To lightly fry in oil:-

5 gms Black Cardamom (black veldode/ elaichi)

4 gms Green Cardamom (veldode/elaichi)

½ tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi dane)

5 gms Star anise(chakri phool/badam phool)

5 gms Stone flower (Dagad phool)

5 gms Cinnamon (Dalchini)

5 gms Cloves (Lavang/laung)

5 gms Peppercorns (Kali meri/kalimirch)

5 gms Bay leaf (tejpatta/tamaal patri)

5 gms Mace (javitri/Jaipatri)

½ Nutmeg (Jaiphal)

5 gm Cobra saffron (Nag keshar)

5 gms Asafoetida (Hing) if you are using whole asafoetida fry it in oil and then grind, if you are using powdered fry it just for a fraction of a second on a very low flame and remove immediately.



How do we do it:-

1 Heat a kadhai. Dry roast the ingredients in the dry roast category on a very low flame, one by one with continuous stirring as not to burn them.

2 Roast them till a little brown but not burn them. Remember just a little brown do not burn them.

3 Remove each ingredient from the heat when they get fragrant.

4 Remove the dry roasted ingredients in a plate and allow them to cool before grinding.

5 In the same kadhai add about 2 tsp oil. Do not use more oil, and fry the ingredients in the fry category on a very low flame, one by one with continuous stirring so as not to burn them.

6 Remove each ingredient from the heat when they get fragrant. Do take care and watch like a hawk, for they will burn very quick.

7 Fry them till golden brown in colour but be careful not to burn them.

8 Remove the fried ingredients in a separate plate and allow then to cool before grinding.

9 In a mixer grinder first grind the dry roasted ingredients to a fine powder. Do not grind continuously as that will overload the mixer.

10 Remove the dry roasted powder in a plate.

11 Now grind the fried ingredients to a fine powder again do not grind continuously.

12 Now add the dry roast powder in the mixer jar and mix both the powders by pulsing the mixer.

13 Remove in a plate and allow to cool completely for 2-3 hours.

14 Now store the ground powder in a dry air tight container, preferably a glass jar.

15 Use as required but in a very small quantity as it is very strong. Just a pinch or two.


4 thoughts on “Maharashrtain Kala masala (spice mixture)

  1. I am Gujarat married to a Maharashtrian (Vidarbh Region). Know the importance & always on a lookout for these masala recipes. Every house has his own specialty.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • wow…in vidarbh they use this masala a lot…yes every family has its own version….do try it out dear…thank you…:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>