Friday, April 25, 2008

My Bombay Kitchen: The Spice is Right

Just some of the components of Dhana Jiru, the spice mix from Zoroastrian Hell.

My ostensibly low ambition for last night was to whip up Niloufer Ichaporia King's Split chickpea stew, which looked easy and vegetarian and virtuous. 

But she calls for two elaborate spice mixes: Sambhar Masala, which includes eleven individual spices, and Dhana Jiru, which calls for seventeen, among them a "strand" of mace and a cup of coriander seeds. Toasted.

I mixed myself a drink.

Three hours, two drinks, and 10,000 Ajwain cashews later, we wearily sat down to dinner. I had also made Puris (impressive!) and Braised greens (bitter!)

The chickpeas? I was hoping that all my toasting and grinding and sifting and sneezing might yield a revelatory chickpea. These were good, but no. I'm not sure revelation can ever be found in a chickpea. And I say this as one of the chickpea's biggest fans.

But here's my real problem: King's proportions for these spice mixes are so generous that even cutting the recipes in fourths, I have enough Dhana Jiru and Sambhar Masala to tide over a tubby Parsi family of seventeen for a decade. 


  1. that spice-mixing effort sounds like a real workout. i think you should take all the extra spice mix and put it in your pocket before you go out to the Yard. Then, when you're in the Yard, shake out the spice mix a little bit of the time. the guards won't notice and eventually you'll get rid of it all.

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      I would never have picked the writer of this blog for a spinner. interesting!

  2. Whenever I get depressed from now on I am just going to turn my thoughts to a tubby Parsi family of 17. I feel sure that that will lift my spirits immediately.

  3. Cool blog! What type of cookbook are ya' doing next? I'm not a big Indian food fan but the recipes sound tasty! Keep up the great work!