This bottle masala recipe is an authentic East-Indian spice mix. Similar to Indian curry powder or garam masala this is a unique blend of more than 20 different spices. Every family has its own variation of the recipe. This is mine, handed down from my family.
Every summer comes the job of making bottle masala in the East Indian community. It is also one that brings the community together.
This spice mix was made in large quantities and saved for the whole year because the number of spices used are not just unique but also many (20+) and it involved a lot of work, from drying in the sun for days, roasting each and every spice as well and grinding them.
Every family will choose a day or week in which they plan to make their recipe for this masala. The rest of the ladies in the community will come to help each other clean and roast the spices before it goes to the masala mill to get ground into a powder.
In fact, there are also special masala wallis who were a group of ladies that were considered specialists in making this masala. They would come and do the job from roasting to grinding the spices in a large motar and pestle
While every family has its own secret recipe which is handed down from generations. Until not long ago people regarding it as their duty to keep this secret and pass it down to the next generation. People will sell a bottle of this masala to you but they will not give you the recipe!!
These days the concept of sharing has taken the world by storm and you can get this recipe off the internet easily.
Today, I share with you my recipe for bottle masala. My mom was very proud of this recipe and it is one I use to make all the curries I share on this blog.
Key point to remember about bottle masala
- Measurements are important. They are what makes this spice mix unique
- Sun drying the chilies and spcies are not optional as this is what will increase the shelf life of the bottle masala.
- Roasting is what brings out the aroma and flavor of the spices but they must be cooled down propely
- The spices must be ground to a powder consistency for the best spice mix. Coarse ground will not make a good spicemix.
- BM must be sifted a few times to ensure all the spices are well blended and become as one.
- Store BM in air tight bottles that have been sterilized and dried completly. Any moisture in the bottle will cause mold.
- BM is usually stored in dark-colored bottles to proctect from sunlight.
- The masala must be pressed down firmly in the bottle during storage using the stick end of a wooden spoon. Air trapped in the bottle can attract moisure and cause mold.
- If stored properly BM has a shelf life of almost 2 years.
Recipes using bottle masala
- Chicken Khudi
- Chicken Khudi Curry
- and Chicken Frithad Recipe
- Bottle Masala Chicken Curry
- Coconut Mutton Curry
- Kheema Mattar
- Beef Kheema Curry – Ground Beef Masala
- See all meat recipes
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- Cutting Board
- Kitchen Knife
Large batch (5 kgs)
- 2 kgs (4 lb) Hot red Chillies Kashmiri red chiles
- 1 kg (2 lb) Sweet red Chilies Reshampati chilies
- 3/4 kg (26 oz) Coriander seeds dhania
- 125 grams (4 oz) Cumin seeds jeera
- ¼ kg (8 oz) Sesame seed teel
- ¼ kg (8 oz) Poppy seeds khus khus
- ¼ kg (8 oz) Mustard seeds rai
- ¼ kg (8 oz) Wheat gehu
- ¼ kg (8 oz) Chickpeas channa
- ¼ Kg (8 oz) Whole Turmeric Haldi
- 125 grams (4 oz) Black pepper corns kali mirch
- 50 grams (2 oz) Cinnamon dalchini
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Cloves laung
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Cobra safron seeds Naikaiser
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Allspice kababchuni
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Green cardamoms hari elichi
- 5 grams (⅙ oz) Black cardamoms kali elichi
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Fennel seeds Sauf
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Mace Javitri
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Mugwort Maipatri
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Sichuan pepper triphal
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Star anise bardian
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Caraway seeds Shahijeera
- 1 Nutmeg Jaiphal
- 10 grams (⅓ oz) Bay leaves Sambharpan
Small batch (1 kg)
- 250 grams (8 ½ oz) Hot red Chillies Kashmir red chilies
- 50 grams (1 ¾ oz) Sweet red Chilies Reshampati chilies
- 100 grams (3 ½ oz) Corriander seeds dhania
- 20 grams (3 ⅓ tbsp) Cumin seeds jeera
- 50 grams (6 ¼ tbsp) Sesame seeds til
- 50 grams (5 ¼ tbsp) Poppy seeds khus khus
- 50 grams (4 ½ tbsp) Mustard seeds rai
- 20 grams (1 ⅓ tbsp) Wheat gehu
- 40 grams (2 ½ tbsp) Chickpeas chana dal
- 30 grams (4 ¼ tbsp) Turmeric powder haldi
- 20 grams (3 ½ tbsp) Black pepper powder kali mirch
- 6-inch stick Cinnamon dal chini
- 12 Cloves laung
- 7 Green cardamom hari elichi
- 2 Black cardamoms kali elichi
- 1 tsp Cobra saffron seeds negkesar
- 1 tsp Allspice kabachini
- 1 tsp Fennel seeds saunf
- 1 tsp Mace javitri
- 1 tsp Mugwort maipatri
- 1 tsp Sichuan pepper tirphal
- 1 no Star Anise bhadyan
- 1 tsp Caraway seeds shahi jeera
- 1 no Nutmeg Jaiphal
- 2 Bay leaves sambharpan
- Clean and remove the stalk from the chilies Pro tip – it is best to wear gloves when working with chilies otherwise it can cause hot hands
- Dry the chilies and all spices in the sun for a few days until you are sure there is no moisture in leftPro tip – any moisture in the spices will lead to mold in the spice mix.
- Dry roast the spices and chilies in an earthenware or cast iron pan.Pro tip – the chilies when heated can release a very strong smell that often makes people cough. This can make it difficult for patients with asthma to breathe.
- Blend all ingredients one at a time in a spice blender. Sift and combine all the spices – so they blend well together. Pro tip – it is important that all the spices though ground separately are combined as one. So sift together more than once.
- Fill in sterilized mason jars or bottles- label and seal well. It is best to use dark-colored bottles to protect from the sunlight. Pro tip – the bottles must be sterilized and completely dried before storing with the masala otherwise moisture can cause mold.
- The bottle masala can last for up to 2 years if sealed well and kept in a cool dry place.
Substitute for Bottle Masala.Bottle Masala is made up of more than 18 different spices so while these are not the exact substitutes they are great alternatives.
- Add the same amount of curry powder instead of bottle masala plus, 1/4 tsp Garam masala.
- 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilly
- 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 2 bay leaves.
- 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
Sterilize the jars
- Sterilize jars and bottles by washing them in hot soapy water or cleaning them in the dishwasher with a gentle cycle. Then, place them in the oven for 20 minutes at a low 284 F / 140 C
Pro tip– I find the dishwasher does a good job of cleaning and the oven dries any excess moisture in the bottles.
- Note – Leave them in the oven until you are ready to use them (you can turn the oven off).
- Don’t forget to wash and sterilize the bottle lids as well.
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