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Author Topic: East Indian Bottle Masala  (Read 4963 times)

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Offline livo

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2018, 09:30 PM »
The cooked East Indian Bottle Masala marinated Salmon fillets.  I had these with some leftover Masala Prawns (delicious on there own), some Pilau rice and fresh garden salad.  The Salmon turned out exceptionally well and as stated earlier the lack of spiciness / chilli heat is puzzling, yet exactly in line with the unusual claims made about this masala blend in the written dialogs.  Even though Kashmiri Chilli is not particularly hot, I can usually feel some kick from it.  This recipe for the Salmon actually required additional Kashmiri Chilli on top of that in the masala. I was reluctant but elected to see if the claims were correct.  To my surprise there was next to no "chilli heat" at all.  Just the compound flavours of the combined spices and it is good. There is some other chilli powder in the masala that does have some kick, so even that was apparently neutralised.

Made to specification this would be a really remarkable masala, ie; using all the exact ingredients from seed or whole spices and roasted individually, as is tradition, would be far more time consuming and I will probably never bother.  I may one day go a few steps closer to the full preparation but last nights quick throw together is more than pleasing.
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Offline livo

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2018, 10:50 PM »
Phil, as you know, the naming of things in this subject / culinary area is somewhat random and confused / confusing at times.  For an OCD like me it is pure hell and pokes me like a stick.  >:(  Then there is all of the "expert" knowledge churned out on the internet information highway, much of which is just plain incorrect. It takes a bit to sort the crap from the clay, as they say.  ;)

Chillies:
I found this site, among others, about Chilli variety of India.  "Madras Pari" chilli is apparently a variety. http://www.ikisan.com/ap-chilli-varieties.html

It is also worth noting that I have read that Kashmiri Chilli Powder is not always 100% "Kashmiri Chilli". http://www.margaretshome.com/what-is-kashmiri-chilli-powder/
Note: upon inspection of this photo, it would appear to me that the whole chillies I was sold as "Kashmiri" are in fact Byadagi.

The main variety used in Bottle Masala, sometimes singly, is Kashmiri. The other stipulated varieties used are Byadagi (some of the spelling is at best a lucky guess, eg; Bedgi) and the Madras Pari.  Some descriptive dialog about secret family recipes claim to use 4 or 5 different types. Paprika is mentioned in some discussion.

As stated previously, I used some Kashmiri, some generic "chilli powder" (quite hot), some paprika and there was also Kashmiri chilli and "chilli hot" listed in the ingredients of the Basaar I used to obtain a trace amount of Stone Flower. All other ingredients in this Basaar were in the ingredient lists of the Bottle Masala so the Basaar I have is a "reduced spice number" version of Bottle Masala.  15 ingredients instead of close to 30.


Black Cumin:
This spice caused me some confusion in the early stages of my spice stocking quest and still does. I immediately found reference to it being both Caraway and Kalonji (Black Seeds or Nigella). I had both Caraway seed and Kalonji and neither of these are Black Cumin.  However, finding a definitive answer is difficult, well-nigh impossible.  Bunium bulbocastinum, and Bunium persicum are both claimed to be Black Cumin.  Black Cumin is sometimes confused with Caraway because they look similar but neither look like Kalonji.  Then you have Shahi jeera and Kalijiri.  The spellings, local dialects and translation to English let alone general naming confusion and mistakes has made this spice a real "anyone's guess", even Mr Pruthi.

I have 4 different seeds in my spice cupboard.  Cumin, Caraway, Black Cumin (sold in a packet labelled Shahi Jeera (Black Cumin) incidentally) and Kalonji. They are all different in shape, size, colour and taste.

What the actual recipes called for is as follows;
showmerecipes:- caraway seeds (shahi jeera) http://showmerecipes.blogspot.com/2016/08/east-indian-bottle-masala-how-to-make.html
Maria D'souza:- caraway seeds. This recipe appears in several different locations. Here is one. https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/429953095662751947/?lp=true
Mangalorean Recipes:- not used in this one. http://www.mangaloreanrecipes.com/recipes/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86&Itemid=110
Serveright-food:- Black Cuminhttp://www.serveright-food.com/east-indian-bottle-masala/
BottleMasala.com:- Shah- jeera (Caraway).  http://www.bottlemasala.com/Bottle_Masala_Recipe.html
DNAIndia:- Shahijeera (cumin seeds black) https://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report-an-east-indian-speaks-on-the-importance-of-that-kitchen-staple-bottle-masala-1913067
Bottlezest:- Shahjeera (black cumin seeds) http://bottlezest.blogspot.com/
Cookadoodledo:- Shahi Jeera (Black Cumin) https://cookadoodledoo.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/east-indian-bottle-masala/
Goan Xacuti:- Carraway seeds http://xantilicious.com/recipe/goan-xacuti-masala-powder/


These are the recipes that I spreadsheeted, roughly adjusted to a standardised 1000g of chilli (it's usually made in big quantities of 3 kg of dried chilli), scaled down to producing approximately 150 g batches and then averaged to come up with the above LCD formula, kindly sorted by decreasing ingredient quantity by Phil.


Picture of my seeds. Clockwise from the top. 
Black Cumin:- sold to me as Shahi Jeera (Black Cumin). Cumin (Jeera). Black seed (Kalonji / Nigella). Caraway seed.
The Caraway seed is longer and fatter than the Black Cumin, is slightly darker and the longitudanal lines / ridges are more distinct.  As far as taste goes, in a raw taste test they are 3 distinctly different flavours with the Black Cumin being almost halfway between the other 2.


« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 11:28 PM by livo »
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Offline livo

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2018, 11:49 PM »
Other weird spices.  There is quite a bit written about the obscure spices in the recipes and some are said to be included simply for the "why not" factor.  This is the best information I could gather about some of them. It may not be 100% but it does help somewhat. They are really not that mysterious once investigated although some will be difficult for me to obtain here locally.  Insignificant really.

Tirphal / Triphal / Teppal:  Not identical but it is very close to a Sichuan /Szechuan  Pepper.  Substitute OK.
Jaipatri / Zaipatry / Javntry / Javitry: Mace
Badian / Bardian / Badiyan:  Star Anise
Kababchini / kabab chini / cubeb / tailed pepper: Allspice
Maipatri:  Mugwort (apparently banned in some countries at one point)
Naikaiser / Nagkesar: aka cobra saffron or cassia buds. apparently the unopened flower buds of the Sri Lanka National Tree. I substituted a small amount of cassia bark.
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Online chewytikka

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2018, 01:57 AM »
Caraway is just a misnomer, should be regarded as European/Western
and not involved in Indian or Oriental cooking.

Black Cumin, Cumin and Kalongi.
I have the same in my whole spices collection. Imported here in the U.K.



I always enjoy making my own spice blends, but I dont have a OCD approach ;D
I did buy a very good Spices hardback in 1990.
Just thinking there must be a commercial blend of this somewhere out there.
Bombay One Pot Masala, perhaps 8)

cheers Chewy
Burn those spices "Singefry" and Bhunao are the keys to success.
Smoking Mustard Oil is good for You and your curries.....Lol

Offline livo

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2018, 04:50 AM »
Chewy, you really know how to poke me with that OCD stick.  ;D  Look what you've done now.   ???  I have to ask. You leave me no choice. I won't sleep.  I'm going to need a beer or two to ponder this dilemma.  ;) 

Even Dr JS Pruthi has had trouble with this one apparently because black cumin is not Kalongi / Kalonji / Black seed. (Although the names are so often used for each and every thing. Not that Wikipedia is the definitive truth but here is what I'm talking about.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwendia_persica
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunium_bulbocastanum)

Could you clarify what you've said about Caraway being just a misnomer and having no place in Indian /oriental cookery??  Does this mean that it is just a spice (Black Cumin) incorrectly named (westernised) and it is the name that shouldn't be used in Indian / Oriental reference, or is Caraway a separate distinct spice that simply is not used in Indian cooking? 

If it is the former, then I suppose this could be the case if the Bottle Masala recipes are targeted to western internet users.
Couldn't the same be said of most spices which have a common English name and a lot of different regional and dialect / language names?

It would seem odd if it were the latter since 4 of the 9 recipes for this masala, presumably by East Indian heritage people, actually call for Caraway by name, or as a bracketed translation. 

There are commercially available blends of Bombay or East Indian Bottle Masala. Apparently a lot of what is made in the East Indian region ends up with expats in Australia, Canada and wherever else these peoples have settled.  It is also produced by some of these expat East Indians in different countries like here. http://www.spicemama.com.au/shop/spice-mamas-bombay-bottle-masala and https://www.eatelish.com/product/east-indian-bottle-masala/

Incidentally, your photographed Black Cumin looks longer and skinnier than both my Black Cumin and Caraway, so this could mean that both of my spices could be the same thing, and the same as yours, I suppose.  I felt they tasted a little different in raw taste though.  The one I believe to be Caraway is slightly more pungent oil and the Black Cumin more woody in flavour leaning towards actual cumin.  I may be imagining it though. There are 4 spices (or possibly just 3) in my photograph CT but I didn't shrink it enough in the resizing. You have to scroll across to see all 4.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 06:00 AM by livo »
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Offline livo

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2018, 06:39 AM »
This stuff does my head in. ???

The more I read about this, and taking on board what Chewy has said, I feel that any reference to Caraway / Black Cumin / Shahi Jeera in these masala recipes is probably (very likely but not definitely) referring to the Caraway / Black Caraway / Black Cumin / Kalonji / Black Seed spice from Nigella Sativa. Not the Black Cumin from Bunium bulbocastanum.   Maybe Dr Pruthi was onto it after all.  But if a recipe calls for Black Cumin, which one do you use?

If this is the case I used the wrong spice. 

There are apparently 4 distinctly different spices from 4 biologically different plants. I think I have all 4.  Only the names have been changed to provide general confusion and it would appear that CT is again correct in as much as CARAWAY (carum carui) is not generally used in Indian cooking and any reference to it is in fact the misnomer of which he speaks.

Anybody know any East Indian / Mumbai locals to use a phone-a-friend chance?
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Offline Ghost Face

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2018, 12:57 PM »
Cumin - there are two types of cumin. Cuminum cyminum and cumin nigrum (Black Cummin)
cumin nigrum has a more complex flavour and less cuminaldehyde.

 Cuminaldehyde, or 4-isopropylbenzaldehyde, is a natural organic compound with the molecular formula C10H12O. It is a benzaldehyde with an isopropyl group substituted in the 4-position.
Cuminaldehyde is a constituent of the essential oils of eucalyptus, myrrh, cassia, cumin and others.[1] It has a pleasant smell and contributes to the aroma of these oils. It is used commercially in perfumes and other cosmetics

Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2018, 01:38 PM »
Welcome aboard, GF — Good to see someone citing Wikipædia, although I think you really ought to acknowledge your source ...

Quote from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuminaldehyde
Cuminaldehyde, or 4-isopropylbenzaldehyde, is a natural organic compound with the molecular formula C10H12O. It is a benzaldehyde with an isopropyl group substituted in the 4-position.

Cuminaldehyde is a constituent of the essential oils of eucalyptus, myrrh, cassia, cumin and others.[1] It has a pleasant smell and contributes to the aroma of these oils. It is used commercially in perfumes and other cosmetics.

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« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 02:13 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
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Offline Ghost Face

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2018, 04:31 PM »
Cheers for the welcome. Good to be here!
I Never thought about quoting sources. Well spotted Wikipedia was part of the source. The other part came from Harold Mcgee. " Mcgee on Food and Cooking" a truly remarkable piece of investigation into the science of food and cooking. The Pandora's box that led to a lot of modern techniques and understanding that one sees today. An interesting point that I took note  of in the book was a comparison to the way Mexicans cook/treat their pureed chillies and the way Indians do also. On that note, it came to the forefront of my mind that Chillies, tomatoes and vanilla all came to worlds palate in the 15-16th centuries from Mexico. I wonder what interesting techniques they have to teach in the pursuit of curry excellence.

At the moment I'm trying to investigate and replicate the "GIR" (Glasgow Indian Restaurant) curry that appears to be fading.  I'm at the basics of working out a Garam Masala ratio of my own and incorporating this into a technique taught to me by an Indian family friend from Punjab descent. Although I have already started improvising with Kashmiri Bassar and whole Kashmiri Chillies in my recipe. I was pleased with the final results. Here is today's write up and analysis.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I713C4cISwWvjWpwQTrzFLef4TsxhDOPFqaHse6bKlQ/edit?usp=sharing

I've still to start analysing the Bases Sauce and recipes section, it looks like a deep rabbit hole.

This article on East India Bottle Masala was great to see and appreciate the True complexity of Indian Cooking.




Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: East Indian Bottle Masala
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2018, 04:40 PM »
Cheers for the welcome. Good to be here!
I Never thought about quoting sources. Well spotted Wikipedia was part of the source. The other part came from Harold Mcgee. " Mcgee on Food and Cooking" a truly remarkable piece of investigation into the science of food and cooking.

I have that text — it is excellent.

Quote
At the moment I'm trying to investigate and replicate the "GIR" (Glasgow Indian Restaurant) curry that appears to be fading.  I'm at the basics of working out a Garam Masala ratio of my own and incorporating this into a technique taught to me by an Indian family friend from Punjab descent. Although I have already started improvising with Kashmiri Bassar and whole Kashmiri Chillies in my recipe. I was pleased with the final results. Here is today's write up and analysis.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I713C4cISwWvjWpwQTrzFLef4TsxhDOPFqaHse6bKlQ/edit?usp=sharing

I've still to start analysing the Bases Sauce and recipes section, it looks like a deep rabbit hole.

Excellent stuff, M. Escoffier ((I have the Cracknell & Kaufmann edition of your earlier Guide Culinaire !)  — keep at it :)

** Phil.
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