an unconventional approach

Spices serve as the foundation of Indian cuisine, and it is the seamless blend of these aromatic ingredients that imparts the subtly magical flavors and textures to Indian dishes. One such skillfully crafted spice mix is the Kala/Goda Masala from my home state, Maharashtra, situated on India’s mid-western coast. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I use homemade version of this masala in quite a few of my signature concoctions. While the traditional masala-making process can be labor-intensive, I’ve developed a unique method that departs from the conventional approach of individually pan-roasting each spice on the stove. Instead, I present a simplified and convenient process for crafting the perfect spice blend – Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala.

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

Kala and/or Goda

The dark brown, almost black-colored, sweet, and mildly spicy Kala/Goda masala serves as the foundation for the majority of Maharashtrian vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes. Synonymous with Marathi households, it shares its popularity with the most widely recognized Indian spice mix – Garam Masala.

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

What imparts sweetness to the ‘Goda’ masala are a couple of key ingredients – dried coconut and lichen/stone flower or ‘dagad phool,’ in addition to an array of spices found in the garam masala. On the other hand, what gives the ‘Kala’ masala its black or dark color is the method of roasting the spices together until they transform into a beautiful dark brown, fragrant mixture, followed by grinding it into a dark, aromatic spice blend. Hence the terms Kala and Goda are interchangeably used.

A Family Recipe

Every family has its own version of the recipe, and mine is no exception. While I affectionately refer to it as “Mom’s Masala“, the original creator of my family’s Kala/Goda Masala recipe was my ‘Ajji‘ (maternal grandmother). She used to lovingly prepare and send me large batches of her masala during the last few active years before she passed away.

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala
Kala/Goda Masala made by my Ajji

Now, for the most part, I rely on my mom for my annual supply of the masala. I usually store it in the refrigerator and use it to recreate the flavors of the traditional Maharashtrian home-cooked food I enjoyed while growing up. This particular spice mix is challenging to find in grocery stores outside India. However, if you happen to make a trip there, you can bring back a packet from any local manufacturer in any city of Maharashtra or opt for a readily available option on Amazon.

Trying my hand at making the Masala

I finally ventured into making the masala at home when I unexpectedly ran out of my supply (during the pandemic), and there was no way for me to get it from Mom for a while. Knowing I couldn’t go without it for long, I decided to take the leap of faith and try my hand at making the unique spice blend myself. While I could have ordered a packet from Amazon, I wanted to seize the opportunity to try making it on my own. After all, I had plenty of time on my hands while sheltering at home during the pandemic.

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

Key Ingredients for Kala/Goda Masala

I called Mom and got the lowdown from her. As I understood, an array of whole spices, along with slices of dried coconut and dried red chilies, are pan-roasted one by one in a small amount of oil and then ground together to make the masala. I jotted down the proportions and the rough measurements that Mom shared with me and worked on getting them together. While most of the spices and the dried sliced coconut were easily available in the Indian stores near me, I couldn’t find one of the key ingredients, dagad phool or the stone/lichen flower, although it was readily available on Amazon.

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

When I was ready to take the plunge, I decided to make a small batch. It was my very first time making a masala from scratch, especially this particular one that is unique and holds special significance for me in many ways. Additionally, I was testing a theory and conducting a little experiment in the kitchen by employing a completely different technique for roasting the spices. The traditional method, learned by Mom from her mother and still followed today, involves pan-roasting each spice individually, which seemed lengthy and labor-intensive to me. I wondered if the masala would turn out the same way if I oven-roasted all the spices together on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil.

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

The experiment was a success! The spices were evenly roasted in the oven and took only 10 minutes. After cooling completely, I ground the roasted spices in the heavy-duty Indian grinder that I have, resulting in a deep, dark brown, fragrant Kala/Goda masala, just like Mom’s!

Quick Hack: Coconut and Garam Masala Blend

Now, if for some reason you don’t have homemade or store-bought Kala/Goda Masala on hand but still want to enjoy its deliciousness, I’ve got a great hack! Simply roast plain, unsweetened shredded or desiccated coconut in a pan along with some sesame seeds (if you have them; otherwise, you can skip), and then mix them together with the store-bought garam masala you have in your spice cabinet. It may not result in a dark brown colored mixture, but you will still be able to achieve the subtly sweet taste that traditional masala imparts to the dish it is added to.

Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

However, if you care to venture into making the masala at home, I have outlined step-by-step details below that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.

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Sheet Pan Oven-Roasted Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups 1x

Description

A modern technique for making the traditional masala by roasting whole spices simultaneously in the oven.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups coriander seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry coconut slices
  • 20 dried red chilies
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2 mace flowers
  • 2 tbsp dagad phool or black stone flower
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper (about 1012 corns)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (shaha jeera)
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1/2 tsp cloves (about 4-5)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil, like canola, safflower, avocado, etc.
  • 1 tsp asafetida
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175 °C).
  • Spread all the spices along with dried coconut slices and dried red chilies on a baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil.
  • Drizzle the oil and toss to coat evenly. Spread the spices back onto the sheet in an even layer.
  • Roast in the oven for about 10 mins, till the coconut slices turn light brown and the spices are fragrant, tossing half way through. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely.
  • Transfer to a grinder or a small batch if using a spice/coffee grinder. Add the turmeric and asafetida.
  • Grind to a coarse-fine powder-like consistency.
  • Transfer to a clean, airtight, glass container (see FAQs & Notes for storage information). 

Keywords: Quick & Easy, Maharashtrian Recipes, Oven Roasting

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Preheat oven to 350°F (175 °C).

Step: 2

Spread all the spices along with dried coconut slices and dried red chilies on a baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil.

Step: 3

Drizzle the oil and toss to coat evenly. Spread the spices back onto the sheet in an even layer.

Step: 4

Roast in the oven for about 10 mins, till the coconut slices turn light brown and the spices are fragrant, tossing half way through. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely.

Step: 5

Transfer to a grinder or a small batch if using a spice/coffee grinder. Add the turmeric and asafetida.

Step: 6

Grind to a coarse-fine powder-like consistency.

Step: 7

Transfer to a clean, airtight, glass container (see FAQs & Notes for storage information). 

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

How long will the masala last?

The masala will keep fresh for up to 6 months if stored in a cool dark place, in your spice cabinet, away from direct sunlight. You can extend it’s shelf life up to a year by storing it in an airtight glass or plastic jar in the refrigerator or freezer.

No time to make the masala?

You can try looking for a few different brands like K-Pra, Bedekar or Prakash at your local Indian grocery store or opt for a readily available option on Amazon.

A simple hack to make Kala/Goda masala using more commonly available garam masala

Simply roast plain, unsweetened shredded or desiccated coconut in a pan along with some sesame seeds (if you have them; otherwise, you can skip), and then mix them together with the store-bought garam masala you have in your spice cabinet. It may not result in a dark brown colored mixture, but you will still be able to achieve the subtly sweet taste that traditional masala imparts to the dish it is added to.

Recipe Variations

Create your own spice blend using my technique!

Roast a combination of whole spices together in the oven at 350°F (175 °C) for 10 minutes and grind to a fine powder after cooling completely. Store in an airtight jar in a cool dark place.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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