Garam masala has been a part of Indian cooking for a long time, and in the later years we have also learned the usage of kitchen king masala, which is quite different from the traditional garam masala. However, there is another type of masala mix out there, called sabzi masala, but its usage or composition is not so well known at present. Looking at it for the first time, one may even dismiss it as another gimmick created by commercial masala makers.
I was skeptical too, but a reading of the ingredients of sabzi masala sold by the MDH brand changed my opinion. Here is what I could understand:
The word “sabzi” is loosely used in India to refer to any vegetable, or for that matter, any vegetarian curry. In India, jeera aloo, baingan bharta, and chickpea curry, are all called “sabzi.” However, the actual meaning of “sabzi” is green vegetable. Hence, at least technically speaking, sabzi masala is supposed to be used in the cooking of green vegetables such as okra (bhindi) and bitter gourd (karela). I will explain why I picked these two examples.
Looking at the ingredients of sabzi masala, one finds two distinct additions – dried mango powder and dried pomegranate powder. Neither of these are used in the making of kitchen king masala, as one can see from this article. So, why the creator of sabzi masala decided to use these tangy ingredients for a masala meant for cooking vegetables?
The idea is to infuse a mildly tangy flavor to a dry (without gravy) vegetable curry. Now imagine how mango and pomegranate powders will enhance the flavors of fried okra or bitter gourd. Yummy, right?
The other distinct ingredient in MDH sabzi masala is black salt, which adds a savory touch to fried foods. It further strengthens my understanding that sabzi masala is to be used for dry vegetable curries, in which fresh vegetables are fried along with the regular masala paste.
The recipe suggested by MDH says to add one teaspoon of sabzi masala along with cut vegetables to the already fried masala paste.
Sabzi masala is a mix of two primary ingredients – coriander and cumin seeds – and a few more spices added for additional heat and fragrance. The three special ingredients – dry mango and pomegranate powders, and black salt, give it a distinct flavor suitable for cooking vegetables. Here is the complete list:
- Coriander powder
- Cumin powder
- Dried unripe mango powder
- Red chili
- Mustard seeds
- Iodized salt
- Pomegranate seeds
- Black Pepper
- Black salt
- Garlic Powder
- Black Cardamom
- Dried ginger powder
Go ahead and try it, may be someone in your family will start liking green vegetables. I recommend MDH brand for the well thought of composition.