Masala Paste

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1 cup

Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

It’s impossible to say for sure whether East Indian spice mixtures like this masala are absolutely authentic, in large part because India is such a vast country that a particular spice blend might have come from a single indentured laborer who hailed from a small village off the beaten track. Additionally, although the ingredients are standard Indian spice-box issue, the ratio of individual spices can vary from area to area and cook to cook. You may want to experiment with this mix until you find a combination you really like.


  • 6 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 heaping teaspoon aniseed
  • 1 heaping teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 heaping teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 fresh hot red chilies, stemmed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped


  1. Place the coriander seeds, aniseed, cloves, turmeric, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, and mustard seeds in a food processor or grinder and grind to a powder.
  2. Add the chilies, garlic, and onion and process into a paste, adding water as necessary to achieve a paste-like consistency. Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container until needed, for up to 1 week.