Dhana Jiru/Coriander Cumin Spice Powder
THEME: #242 MASALA DABBA
What is a Masala Dabba?
Masala is the word that refers to spice in the Indian Subcontinent and dabba is a tin. Every Indian household wherever they may live, be it in India, US, UK, Australia, Europe, Africa, etc will have a tin where spices that are used regularly are kept. Just spooning them out from the masala dabba or tin is so much easier than opening and closing individual spice jars or bottles.
What my Masala Dabba contains
Depending on which part of India you come from or which community you belong to, the spices in the dabba will vary. For example my sister in law is married to a Kashmiri Brahmin so her masala tin has Kashmiri red chili powder, ginger powder, fennel powder, turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin seeds or caraway seeds and asafetida. A typically Gujarati Masala Dabba is different, therefore I have turmeric powder (harder), red chili powder (lal marchu), coriander cumin powder(dhana jiru), mustard seeds (rai), cumin seeds (jeeru), fenugreek seeds (methi), carom seeds (ajmo) and asafetida(hing). However, that does not mean I don’t use other spices or spice powders. I do, usually they are stored away in a cool place or the fridge to keep them fresh.
This week is another simple theme – Masala Dabba, suggested by Preethi considering that majority of us are still under lockdown, isolation or on social distancing. She suggested any homemade Masala or Spice Mixture that is used in our kitchens. For this theme I decided to make Dhana Jiru or Coriander Cumin Powder which is vital in any Gujarati Kitchen. However, we’ll talk a bit more about it later.
Spices and Indian Subcontinent Cuisine
No Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi cuisine is complete without spices. Spices or spice mixtures are added not only for flavors but also because they are beneficial for health. As I mentioned above, which spices are most used in what proportion will depend on the cuisine. Take Mughlai or Awadi Cuisine, so many of the aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, saffron, anise, bay leaves, fennel seeds, etc are used. In the South Indian cuisine basic spice blends usually consist of red chilis, mustard seeds, cumin seeds along with curry leaves, coconut, and lentils. So many dishes from the east part of India will have a mixture of nigella, mustard, fennel, fenugreek and cumin seeds which is known as Panch Phoron or Panch Putana.
Some Spice Mixtures you may want to check out:
- Preethi uses homemade Flaxseed and Curry Leaves Powder when she makes chutney, dals, curries, raita, stir fried veggies, etc. What I like about this spice blend is that she has used curry leaves and flaxseed along with other spices.
- The Garam Masala, Gujarati Style that I use is a spice mixture I learnt from my Mother in law and I tend to use it for stuffed vegetable sabji, rice dishes and dals.
- Thandai Masala Powder which can be widely used not only to make thandai (a cooling drink) but is used to make flavorful cookies, cakes, muffins, desserts, etc.
- Tea Masala is commonly used to make masala tea. I tend to add it to cakes, muffins, cookies, desserts and sweet breads whenever spices are required.
- I would recommend you use Priya’s Curry Podi for any South Indian curries that you may want to try out.
- Check out how Ruchi makes Sambhar Powder at home. By the way Sambhar powder is a vital spice blend required to make the famous South Indian Sambhar or Curry that is served with idli, dosa, vada or rice.
- Want to use a spice blend that is not hot as in taste wise but still adds a wonderful aroma and colour to basic Indian Curries? Well then you’ve got to try out Jagruti’s Homemade Indian Curry Powder which is not to be mistaken with Garam Masala.
How to Make Spice Powder at Home
Its pretty easy, you just need the required spices. These spices are then generally roasted over low heat to release their natural oils which gives the flavors and aroma. Be careful not to burn the spices. Usually each spice that is required is roasted individually. The spices are allowed to cool before grinding them together in a food processor or coffee grinder. Store the spice powder in an airtight container to retain the freshness. Traditionally, spice powders were made at home. I remember helping my mum make the various spices at home by pounding it with a pestle in a big mortar. Back then homes didn’t have the modern gadgets that we have nowadays.
Dhana Jiru/Coriander Cumin Powder
Dhana Jiru is basically a combination of roasted coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Some add turmeric to it some don’t. Dhana Jiru is used in every Gujarati home for all the dals, curries, shaaks/Sabjis (vegetables), and some snacks too. I cannot imagine making bhinda nu shaak(okra stir fried), Stuffed brinjal, Tuvar Dal, without dhana jiru. I like to make small batches so that the freshly ground spice powder adds much flavour to the dish. If you want to add turmeric then generally a small dried piece of it is added to the spices before grinding. I usually don’t add that as I prefer to add turmeric separately. It is so easy to make dhana jiru as the ratio is 1:¼. I of coriander and ¼ of cumin, whatever you use for measuring.
- Gluten Free
DHANA JIRU /CORIANDER CUMIN POWDER
Makes approx. 1 cup
2 cups coriander seeds
½ cup cumin seeds
- Dry roast coriander in a wide pan or karai over low heat till you get the aroma of the spice, the seeds begin to crackle and it turns light golden in colour.
- Transfer the roasted coriander seeds into a wide plate or tray to cool.
- Add cumin seeds to the pan or karai. Roast over low heat till it turns light brown in colour and begins to crackle.
- Add the cumin seeds to the coriander seeds.
- When the mixture is cool, using a food processor or a coffee grinder, grind to a powder. Here you can grind to a coarse powder or a fine powder. I prefer in between.
- Store dhana jiru in an airtight container or jar.
- Don’t roast over high or medium heat.
- Don’t burn the spices.
- Don’t leave the roasted spices in the hot pan or karai, otherwise it will get burnt.
- Store the powder in the container or jar when it cools down a bit.
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