Durban Masala Recipe

by Food Like Amma, 7/08/2020

Durban Masala is a blend of spices that make up the charismatic aroma and fiery red colour of Durban Curry. This spice blend is a paradox of sweet spices like cinnamon, cardamon and fennel, combined with bitter cumin and fiery chilli and cayenne pepper and rounded off with coriander. Family recipes for this masala may vary. We grew up with mostly shop bought masala, particularly Packo and Osman's Spices being Amma's two favored range of Masala. On the rare occasion that she was out of masala, she ground dried chillies with a mortar and pestle to make homemade chilli powder and combined it with jeera and dhania powder or birth masala. It was my granny who loved drying hoards of chillies or dried onions on the lawn to make her own blend of spices, often knelt over the grinding stone. Having lived abroad for nearly two decades now, I have often adapted recipes to suit ingredients. I have even blasphemously resorted to making chicken liver curry with fresh chillies and yellow curry powder. It's about time I made my own masala! This recipe has come about through trial and error over a few months now and I am finally satisfied with the results, I hope you will enjoy this too!

recipe for durban masala

The Science of Spice Book Review

by Food Like Amma, 7/07/2020
 I was attracted to the title of this book, because I wanted to know more about spice and how to use them. Since reading it, this book has lived up to all my expectations. I have a better understanding of the origin of spices and how to pair them and when to use them. I love the graphic user friendly method of presentation. 

birth masala chicken curry recipe

by Food Like Amma, 7/04/2020
Amma‘s chicken curry made with birth masala was known as Marin Salo (Marinde Saloo).  Sometimes braised dry or as a spicy soup like texture to help alleviate common cold symptoms. Chicken necks, feet or wings were often braised dry while odd pieces or a combination of different chicken pieces were made with more gravy using onion and tomatoes. Birth masala itself contains cumin, coriander seeds and carom seeds as key ingredients therefore it is not necessary to add garam masala when making this type of chicken curry. Amma's version simply included birth masala and chilli powder, Durban masala or chicken curry masala. The combination of spices makes for a fragrant yet fiery chicken curry, perfect to beat the winter blues.

birth masala recipe

by Food Like Amma, 7/04/2020
The name birth masala is unique to  Indian cooking in South Africa. Growing up in the eighties, Birth Masala was one of the most elusive spices, it was only available in some spice shops or from aunties who made their own secret blend. The spice itself was often shared but never the recipe. Amma often got her supply from her sister. This spice blend was mainly used for a dish called‚ maren salo - essentially a chicken curry, made from 'odd' chicken pieces, chicken wings, necks, feet and sometimes included a gizzard or two braised with onion, chilli powder and birth masala or to make russum. Both of these dishes were Amma's remedy to alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Birth masala has a characteristic aroma and brown colour. This is my attempt at recreating the recipe from scratch. It is also my first attempt at blending my own spices and I am not completely dissatisfied with the results. Having become a mum in my late thirties, I can safely say, that no amount of birth masala could prepare you for the feat of motherhood, but the nostalgia and memories associated with this spice certainly give you the motivation and comfort needed to kick start the journey into motherhood, especially if your mum is no longer here.


easy south african crumpets recipe

by Food Like Amma, 6/28/2020
No baked or pan cooked treat epitomized Sunday afternoon quite like crumpets. These small, fluffy pancakes are easy to make and require minimal ingredients, simply combine flour, baking powder ,eggs and milk. Cook on the pan and enjoy with jam and butter. In worse case end of the month scenario Amma simply made them with milk and self rising flour. Other forms of Amma‘s pancakes included sour dosa and fried ones which often served as a substitute for bread. I made these South African crumpets to go with strawberry jam, my son made at preschool this week (by make I mean helped cut strawberries), none the less it was one of my proudest moments yet.

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