Top Spices of the North and South
India is known for its many herbs and spices. Four of the most popular ones are the chettinad masala, bafat, curry leaves and garam masala.
A traditional spice blend – consisting of 16 or more spices – is the Chettinad Masala, originating from Tamil Nadu, in the extreme south of India. Some of the spices are cinnamon, green cardamom, mace, star anise, cloves, fenugreek, black pepper, kapok, cumin, coriander, fennel, mustard seeds, dry red chili peppers, curry leaves, poppy seeds, turmeric, and the key ingredient called stone flower, which releases an intense aroma when tempered. To make Chettinad, all the spices are dry-roasted in a particular order, left to cool and pounded in a mortar with a pestle. Chettinad is usually used in various Chettinad non-vegetarian and vegetarian curries.
Bafat is another group of spices that is traditional Mangalorean, a collection of ethnic groups from the historical locales of South Canara on the south western coast of Karnataka. Their cuisine is largely influenced by South Indian cuisine and the highly aromatic spicy blend is especially typical of the Mangalorean Catholic community. Bafat is a blend of ground spices such as red chilis, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and turmeric. To make bafat, each spice is dry-roasted separately until fragrant and slightly browned, then all of them are combined and ground to a powdery consistency; they enhance the flavor of various meat specialties, curries, and vegetarian dishes. Bafat is available at most grocery stores in Mangalore.
Curry leaves are a staple of South Indian cuisine The dark, shiny green color and aroma of the leaves release a unique, nutty aroma when fried in oil. The leaves soften significantly when cooked and are usually used as a flavoring to rice, chutneys, dals, soups, and stews. Curry leaves are common in many Indian groceries, frozen or kept in an airtight container to keep their flavors for a longer time.
Garam Masala can be literally translated as hot ingredients, and is sometimes described as an aromatic blend that is meant to heat the body. The blend is intensely aromatic and may consist of ground spices such as cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns. Its origins are in Northern India, where winters are typically colder than in the rest of the country. It is recommended to be used at the end of the cooking process to achieve the best flavor, although it can also be used at the beginning, when it’s usually added to ghee or cooking oil in order to provide a more pungent flavor.Source
Enjoying Flavors of the North
MokSHA Bellevue uses all the above spices when and where to flavor our selections. We offer an unforgettable dining experience when you come for authentic Northern Indian cuisine.