There is something about things made at home specially pickles, spice mixes, sauces, jams and many such things. They lend utmost satisfaction and give a feeling of pride. The advantage of doing them at home is not merely monetary but such things are hygienic, chemical free and do not taste like store bought industrial bottled stuff. 

I always have my refrigerator stocked with home made Szechuan Sauce, Kimchi, Chimichurri, Pesto. Whenever a recipe calls for a particular type you don’t have to run and make a trip to market. On my last trip to delhi I got a good batch of thai ingredients. I love Tom Yum Soup for which galangal and Bird’s Eye Chillies are a must. I have some Lemongrass growing in my garden, so I decided to make a big batch of Thai Red Curry Paste. Its a basic paste for plenty of Thai preparations specially, soups, stir fries and main courses.


The only hassle is to gather the ingredients and to bring them together doesn’t take much time. Specially when you are using non traditional way of grinding them, which is electric blender. Don’t judge me! Its a lot of effort doing it with mortar and pestle. I took the easy way and the curry paste still tasted divine. It filled my entire house with the aroma of these aromatic spices. You must try this to believe it.



1. Chop the lemongrass root into small pieces. Let go off the long shoots. You can use them in Tom Yum Soup or to make tea. Take some dried Red Chilies, prik haeng. If you cant find this variety you can use ordinary red chillies. Deseed them and soak them in warm water for fifteen minutes before adding them to the paste.




2. Chop Galangal.

3. Add them to a grinder. Along with it add Whole White Pepper* and Dried Coriander Seeds.




3. Also add to it Peeled Garlic and Fresh Coriander stalks.



4. Also Add kaffir Lime Leaves** and Thai Red Bird’s Chili.



5. Add Shallots or Red Onion and Salt.



6. Add a spoon of water to ease grinding.

7. Grind it into a course paste and put it in a bottle. Refrigerate till use. You can make Thai Red Curry With Sticky Rice. with this paste.

Other Thai Recipe you can try here are: Veg Tom Yum Soup.

Other International Cuisines you can try on The Secret Ingredient are:  Italian Frittata, Chinese Steamed Baos with Custard Filling, Mexican Black Bean Salad with Mangoes, Argentine Chimichurri.



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Last week I spoke to my parents and they sounded very low. On asking the reason they said 6 buckets of raw mango fell down from our mango tree after a fierce storm. They were distributing them to our neighbors, friends and family. I told them my friend is visiting us the following day and they were suddenly excited. I knew what this excitement was all about. When my friend came she brought in about 10 kgs of raw mangoes along with other produce. So after she left I am busy utilising the raw mangoes. I finished making Raw Mango Chutney, this South Indian Achaar and Aam Panna is on cards!

he beauty of this pickle is that it takes absolutely no time to put it together. My friend Sonu posted this recipe sometime back and I knew it then and there that I will be making this. Not to mention even my Mommy made this pickle! My husband who is not very fond of pickles could not resist eating this. We love this specially with Curd Rice.

1. Wash and peel raw mangoes.



3. Chop them into small pieces eliminating the seed inside.



3. Add salt and mix well. Let it sit for an hour  undisturbed in a colander until the juices run out. Squeeze out extra water. Set aside.



4. Add mustard seeds and Fenugreek seeds in handy mortar and pestle and coarsely grind them. You can even use a dry grinder or coffee grinder for this purpose. Keep aside.




5. In a wok add some mustard oil.


6. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle.

7. Add kaddhi Patta and coarsely ground mustard and fenugreek seed mix.



8. Add Red Chili Powder, Asafoetida and little Salt. Rememeber the mangoes are already salty.




9. Turn the flame off and add the raw mangoes. Mix thoroughly until the spices are well coated on mangoes.


10. Let the pickle cool down completely then transfer it to a glass container and refrigerate and enjoy with your favourite meal. This stays good for 4-5 days.

You can try this pickle with Curd Rice. You can even make Bharwan Lal Mirch ka Achar.


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After I posted the recipe of Pumpkin Cake Rolls, requests started pouring in for the recipe of Pumpkin Pie Spice. I promised I’ll post the recipe soon. This spice mix is so aromatic and can be made with few ingredients, probably you will have it on hand. This can be used in cakes and muffins to spice them up and also used in making Pumpkin Pie and even sprinkled on top of your favourite Coffee Latte for that perfect spicy flavour. This 


1. In a bowl add Cinnamon Powder and dry Ginger Powder.



2. Add Cloves powder and Mace Powder. Adding mace powder is purely optional. But I like to add it.



3. Lastly add nutmeg powder and combine everything.


Put it in a airtight container and store. Use it sparingly in your favourite Pumpkin Roll Cake and coffee and of course Pies.

You can even try other spice mix like Homemade Punjabi Pindi Cholley Masala. Domino’s Oregano Seasoning.




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My Mother’s homemade Punjabi Choley Masala takes Punjabi Pindi Choley to a new level all together. It infuses the Choley or Garbanzo with Authentic Punjabi Flavour as well as gives it a dark enriching colour. I have inherited this recipe from Mommy and it never fails me.  Simply dry roast the spices and to perfection. You can store this for a long time, a must for your kitchen cabinet.


1. Put Cumin, Pomegranate dry seeds or Anardana, Coriander Seeds, Cloves, Whole Black Pepper, Black Cardamom, Nutmeg or Jaiphal and Cinnamon or Dalchini in a flat bottom pan for dry roasting.


2. Dry roast them on medium low flame for 5-8 minutes. Keep stiring so that the spices are not over roasted.


3. Let the spices cool down a bit. Transfer them to a dry grinder or coffee grinder to grind it into a semi coarse powder.


Transfer it into an air tight container. Stays good for a very long time.

Use them to make your favourite Punjabi Pindi Choley.


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