Achari Masala is a combo of ground whole spices. It is used to spice up the achari paneer gravy recipe. Besides, it is a kind of garam masala powder that you can use to flavour other recipes.
It could be anything from the main course item to a starter. For instance, you can make achari paneer gravy & achari paneer tikka using the achari masala.
With this in mind, let’s start with the very basics of making homemade achari masala.
This brownish-red colour powder is a curry masala heavily used in gravy recipes. It is spicy, salty, sour & has a soothing aroma.
I love the smokey fragrance of this achari masala. Although it is made explicitly for achari paneer, you can still use it in other recipes.
If you don’t have garam masala, then achari masala can serve the purpose.
Achari Masala v/s Garam Masala
We know that garam masala is heavily used in curries, lentil dishes & soups. It’s the heart of Indian cuisine. Whole spices like cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, cardamom, coriander & cumin seeds are toasted then ground to a fine powder. That’s your typical Indian garam masala.
On the other hand, the achari masala also contains whole spices that are toasted & then grounded to powder form. So the difference here is the whole spice that we use to make the achari masala.
For instance, we have fennel & fenugreek seeds along with dry mango powder. These three items will enrich the achari masala with its flavour & fragrance. Not only this, but there are a couple of ingredients more. They make the achari masala stand out from the regular garam masala powder.
The following list contains around ten whole spices & masala powders. Let’s see what we need.
Whole Spice Seeds
A total of six whole spice seeds we will require. Out of which, cumin, coriander & mustard seeds are the regular ones. We use them for daily purposes.
Two whole spice seeds, viz fennel & fenugreek, are exceptional. Fennel, aka saunf, will integrate mild sweet & minty taste plus aroma. I love that thing.
On the other hand, fenugreek seeds are a mixed bag of sweet, butty & bitter taste. However, when combined with other spices, it gives depth to the overall flavour of the recipe.
There’s one more spice I would like to mention. It’s the black cumin seeds. These tiny dark black seeds are sweet. Moreover, when you dry roast them, they become nutty, giving out a rich & mellow flavour.
Dry Red Chilli
The dry red chillies are the heart & soul of our achari masala. The red hue & the required teekhapan in the achari masala is all because of them. But here, I have used the regular red chillies.
Suppose available use the साबुत तीखी कोल्हापुरी लाल मिर्च for extra hotness. But be careful because kolhapuri red chillies are too hot to handle. They are specially used in kolhapuri masala powder to make kolhapuri paneer gravy.
The reason why I like my homemade achari masala is the mild khatta taste in it. For this, I have used dry mango powder, aka amchur powder. I suggest not skipping amchur powder as readily available at the Kirana shops. Additionally, we also have asafoetida. It’s a critical flavouring agent as well as a natural preservative.
The achari masala needs to remain usable if you store it for longer. That’s the reason why we are using asafoetida, aka hing. Not to mention, salt is to taste.
So the ingredient list for the achari masala concludes here. Now we will proceed to the application section. I mean where you can use it.
Where to Use Achari Masala Powder?
I have made this achari masala powder, especially for the achari paneer gravy recipe. But you can use this powder daily in any recipe of your choice.
For instance, you can use it in curries, lentil-based recipes & even in soups. If you look closely, this achari masala can easily be replaced with garam masala. I mean, if you don’t have garam masala, then achari masala is an excellent & flavourful substitute.
Storing Achari Masala
The storage requirements are almost zero. The reason why I am telling this is that it doesn’t need a fancy setup for storage. It’s just like other masala powders. You can store the same in your kitchen closet with other stuff. It’s pretty easy & straightforward.
There’s one thing that I always do. My mother-in-law taught me—to mix oil with dry whole spice masala powders. Regular cooking oil will do as it keeps insects away & preserves the taste, texture & aroma of the masala powder. Try it.
Indian Style of Storing Achari Masala for Longer Shelf Life
The typical Indian style of storing masala powder is glass bottles or jars, just like we keep homemade mango pickles. However, I never prefer keeping it in plastic containers, even if they are food grade types.
Hence, use glass jars & shunt them tightly. Please keep it away from direct sunlight & heat. Make sure you don’t leave the lid of the glass container open.
TR’s Extra Shots for Achari Masala
We are making an ingredient in powdered form; hence there’s a minimal cooking process. Although this is true, still there are some tips I would like to share to help you out. Here they are.
- Whole Spice – Use aromatic whole spices. When you buy them, check whether or not they have the natural texture & aroma.
- Fenugreek Seeds – You can reduce the quantity of methi dana if you don’t prefer the bitterness.
- Fennel Seeds – I would suggest not replacing or skipping this item. It will give a soothing fragrance to the powder.
- Dry Red Chilli – If available, use kolhapuri dry red chillies for extra hotness. Be careful with the quantity.
- Dry Roast – Roast on low flame to prevent burning. When you smell the fragrance, remove them from both the heat & hot pan.
- Fine Powder – We need a fine powder & not a coarse one. Hence, grind until you get the consistency.
- Storage – Store the masala powder in a glass container & secure the lid tightly. Avoid plastic containers for storage.
- Usage – We can use it in curries, lentil dishes & soups. You can replace it with regular garam masala.
Achari Masala FAQs
Some helpful faqs to help you. If you still have doubts, get in touch in the comments.
Is it necessary to use kolhapuri dry red chillies?
It isn’t mandatory. Use only if kolhapuri dry red chillies are available. If not, then continue with the regular dry red chillies.
Can I use regular Kashmiri dry red chillies?
The Kashmiri dry red chillies are good if you want red colour in the gravy. But they aren’t ideal for masala powders as they are incredibly mild in taste. As a result, your masala powder won’t have the hot temper that it should have.
What should be the ideal colour of my achari masala?
Your masala must be brownish-red in colour without any food colour. It is advisable not to use artificial food colour to enhance the colour. It will spoil the recipe.
How achari masala is different from garam masala?
There are fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black cumin & dry mango powder in here. On the contrary, garam masala has nothing much except basic whole spices.
Can I skip fenugreek seeds to avoid bitter taste?
You can, but it isn’t a good idea. Apart from being bitter, fenugreek seeds help enrich the overall taste of the recipe. Ideally, you can decrease the quantity instead of entirely skipping it.
Why my achari masala is dark in colour?
The dark colour is because the whole spice has been over-roasted. It might have happened that you roasted on high flames & left them in the pan. These could be the possible reasons why your masala is dark in colour.
Can I use steel or aluminium containers for storage?
Anything part from plastic is good. However, masala powders stored in plastic containers tend to spoil fast. Glass or metal containers can dramatically increase the shelf life.
Can I use this masala powder in non-veg recipes?
Yes, you can use it to make non-veg items. For instance, you can make chicken achari using this masala. Besides, you will need to adjust the number of other spices.
So that was it with the achari masala recipe today. I hope you will like it.