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Gewürze aus Santa Lemusa


Inspector Hektor at the spice wholesalers «Maruti» on Samuel Street (M Devi Marg) in Mumbai.


The hot spice blend of «Mission Kaki»

On his research trip to India (Episode 18), Hektor Maille gathers the ingredients that make up a special spice mixture in which his entire «mission» is represented – each ingredient in this «Maille-Masala» brings to mind one particular scene from each of the 20 episodes. For the nose of the unsuccessful agent (and any disappointed reader of «Mission Kaki»), this spice mix serves as a reminder-hub or a directory of olfactory hyperlinks that beam the person directly to the different places in which «Mission Kaki» is set, or as a link to different aspects of the story.

The preparation of 300 g of «Maille-Masala» takes, according to one's practice, about two or three hours and the process can perfume a room for several days. The exact nature of the particular mixture depends primarily on how much you roast the individual ingredients - since during the roasting process, the aroma of spices continuously changes. We have waived to note roasting times as these can vary strongly depending on the heat of the pan: Some spices are roasted in seconds, others need several minutes. The sharpness of the mixture depends primarily on the sharpness of the chillis, which are used - and can therefore vary widely.

The «Maille-Masala» is very versatile: it can simply be stirred into a cold dipping sauce with yogurt and salt - or be part of stews, soups and marinades.

Ingredients (for 300 g of powder)

50 g coriander seeds

20 g fenugreek

20 g cumin

10 g fennel

10 g cinnamon-stick, slightly broken

40 g white sesame, whole

10 g black pepper, whole

10 g long pepper, whole

10 g all spice, whole berrys

30 g dried chillies, without stalk

4 g cloves

5 g Indian bay leaves

4 g asafetida, whole

40 g white poppy seeds

6 g black cardamom

5 g stone flower, whole

5 g cinnamon buds, whole

5 g mace (nutmeg), whole

10 g dried ginger, ground

10 g dried turmeric, ground


  1. Prepare a large bowl in which you will assemble and mix the roasted spices. Bring a frying pan (preferably a non-coated steel pan or a cast iron pan) to medium heat and successively fry the following spices, stirring and shaking frequently:
    coriander seeds (until they become fragrant, silently crack and get a slightly darker color)
    fenugreek (until the seeds turn slightly brown and emit a strong smell of British curry powder – if they get too dark, they are very bitter)
    cumin (until the seeds start to smell strongly, turn slightly brownish, crack and jump)
    fennel (until fragrant and slightly brown)
    cinnamon sticks (until they smell and have slightly darker spots on their surface)
    sesame (until the seeds are golden brown color and smell a little nutty)
    pepper (until it smells and the grains move in a strange jerky kind in the pan)
    long pepper (until fragrant and slightly darker with browns spots)
    allspice (until it turns dark, smells stronger and dances in the pan)
    Ourselves we can't really decide whether we better roast pepper and allspice or not. Basically they contain so much essential oil that even unroasted they give plenty of flavor. On the other hand, by roasting them you win a warm touch that we like. But perhaps all this is not more than fantasy.
  2. Reduce heat, possibly remove the pan from the heat for a while, and successively roast the following spices - following the same procedure:
    chilis (until they start to get a darker color and some sharpness rises in the nose)
    cloves (until fragrant – with caution, because they have the tendency to transform within seconds into small cinders)
    Indian bay leaves (until they start to bend slightly, become more fragrant and get light brown spots)
    asafetida (until it smells characteristically - if you only find asafetida-powder, this needs no frying)
    poppy (until it smells ‹deep fried›, turns brown and wants to jump from the frying pan - which happens incredibly fast sometimes)
  3. Get out the seeds from the cardamom capsules (depending on the variety you will need the help of a knife). Crumble the seeds a bit an fry over low heat until fragrant.
  4. Add stone flower, cassia buds, mace, dried ginger and dried turmeric. Mix well, allow to cool and grind in an electric coffee grinder to a fine powder. Again, mix thoroughly. Who likes it very pure can pass the powder through a sieve. Store in airtight containers, the aroma of the mixture keeps for several months.

One could be tempted to roast all the ingredients at once. This is only partially recommended because the individual spices respond very differently to heat and have different habits: The chili burns quickly, the cloves carbonize suddenly and the and poppy seeds have a tendency to jump from the frying pan. – You should make sure the finished powder has really cooled before being packaged - warm powder could give rise to condensation, provoke moisture and spoil the powder quickly.

The roasted ingredients of «Maille-Masala».

More about the travel adventure of Secret Agent Hektor Maille:

In India, Hektor Maille gathers the ingredients that make up a special spice mixture in which his entire «mission» is represented – each ingredient in this «Maille-Masala» brings to mind one particular scene from each of the 20 episodes. Maille-Masala can be part of many different recipes - for example:

First Publication: 24-4-2011

Modifications: 21-6-2011, 16-11-2011