Hand roasting and pounding your own masalas isn’t just extra aromatic and tasty, but also so very satisfying.
This is a classic combination, whole coriander seeds and dried red chilies, which are first roasted and then ground. This combination is the starting point for a classic version of kadhai gravy, which unfortunately isn’t very much in use these days.
I use a 50-50 combination of sabat dhania and lal mirch by weight and pound it to the required coarseness depending on what I’m cooking.
The point of roasting is to activate certain aromatic compounds as well as to reduce moisture and making both dhania and mirch more brittle, allowing for easier pounding. Roast on a low-medium flame, preferably in a heavy bottomed pan, until your kitchen is full of their aroma, then pound away.
We use it for making both non-vegetarian and vegetarian preparations, dry and wet.
It took me the longest time to begin appreciating fresh spices, but once I started, there was just no comparison with readymade ones. There’s much I have to learn, and I’m happy to have begun the journey.