Written originally by Maria. Curated from lavorsofmumbai.com
East Indian Bottle Masala Recipe a traditional, safeguarded recipe from the East Indian Community. Who are East Indian’s they are small catholic community mostly originating from the coastline of Mumbai like Gorai, Vasai, Versova, Bandra, Colaba, Thane and Mazgaon. You must have read about the East Indian company formed in history during British rule. This company was majorly formed by East Indian community.Their food is mainly a fusion of Portuguese food and Maharashtrian food.
For people who don’t know what Bottle Masala is? Let me explain this is a red-orangish spice powder used universally by this community for veggies, meat, chicken, curries, fish fry etc. The ingredients are kept in the sun for 2 days or roasted separately into a pan. Then they were hand-pounded with a big wooden stick on a big sized okhla (vessel used for pounding). Mainly made during summer so the masala is sufficient throughout the year. Now in modern days these are grounded into a grinder or taken to a mill (chakki) to grind. The bottle masala were always stored in alcohol bottles in the ancient days hence got the name bottle masala.
I knew about this masala since my childhood but my mother being a Goan we never used this home. However always eaten recipes like chinchoni, amti, fish curry etc with this masala through friends or neighbors. Also other recipes like fugea (yeast buns), pancakes, frithad masala, lonvas etc are very popular.
I am sure you would think why me posting this recipe??? Would love to answer this I am already a cocktail of 2 regions before marriage and post marriage got into cooking east indian food as hubby hails from this community. Hope you are convinced now as I am inter-regional person…. this bottle masala recipe is not shared easily as every family has their own blend of masala and kept as a guarded secret. However since I know this recipe would love to share as sharing would keep this from getting extinct and more people could try and know this masala.
My sister in law and mother in law use this spice powder universally for all their dishes. Be it curries, fries, veggies, rice anything the bottle masala enhances the flavor and uplifts the taste of the dish. I make them sometimes home or my sis in law is kind enough to lend me some
You could dry these masala under hot sun for 2 days alternatively dry roast them individually on a pan. I dry roasted them on a pan as didn’t had patience to dry them in hot sun. Choose any method as per your convenience. My recipe for bottle masala is less spicy as prefer less spice but you could make them spicier by adding more chilies. Approximately this masala requires 25-26 ingredients so keep them ready before you start making them.
This recipe is dedicated to some of my readers who had requested me to post this recipe. Hope you would make this soon.
Let’s make East Indian Bottle Masala recipe stepwise:
1. Dry all the ingredients under hot sun consecutively for 2 days. Otherwise dry roast the ingredients like I have done. Heat a wide bottomed pan and dry roast the kashmiri red chilies for 8-10 mins over low heat. Keep stirring continuously and keep any eye as the chilies shouldn’t get burnt so keep the heat low throughout. If your pan is small then fry into small batches as roasting is a crucial part.
2. Similarly roast the rest of ingredients for 7-8 mins on low heat or until they are fragrant and aromatic. Keep stirring in between.
3. Dry grind the roasted spices until fine or alternatively get it pounded into a mill or chakki.
4. Store the east indian bottle masala into an airtight container or bottles. For longer life shelf place in the fridge should last upto a year. But better to use them earlier otherwise it would loose it’s flavor, potency and taste.