India,  Karnataka,  Powders. Condiments. Pickles

Kartha Masala -Dark Masala

After my first post about my meeting with Kaveri Ponnapa many of you have sent me messages asking me how special ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ด ๐—ฃ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ ๐—–๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐˜† is?

I will daringly say it is โ€œspecialโ€ as I have not heard of any other cuisine using ๐—ž๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ตa๐—บ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ถ (a potent, thick, dark, almost black looking and extremely tangy vinegar made with the juice of brindle berries) as a souring agent. Kachampuli is only added towards the end of cooking of the pork dish. This vinegar certainly makes the Pandi Curry exceptionally different from other pork dishes and I doubt replacing with lime juice, tamarind or other types of vinegar is going to give the same result! On a personal level, I think the addition of this vinegar helps to โ€œlightenโ€ the taste of the curry as most often only fatty, pork belly meat is used.

The other unique ingredient used in the making of this curry is ๐—ž๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฎ literally translated as โ€œdark masalaโ€. The whole spices are dry roasted, a shade darker than you would normally roast the spices and then grind these spices into a fine powder. The longer dry roasting adds a smoky-earthy taste to the curry.

I made a version of the Kartha Masala and cooked mutton ribs; the way Coorg Pandi Curry is cooked, and it tasted flavoursome!

๐—ž๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฎ
30 g black mustard seeds
25 g cumin seeds
10 g cardamoms pods
10 g black peppercorns
5 g cinnamon
2.5 g fenugreek seeds
4 g cloves

Dry roast the above individually until lightly browned and fragrant.
Cool the spices well and grind them into a powder.
Sift and store in airtight jar.