Khandeshi Kala Masala/Traditional Maratha Kala Masala

  • Yield : Approx.1 Kg.

Masalas are an essential ingredient in any Indian recipe. There might only exist a single Garam Masala(which is a perfect blend of specific spices,namely,cloves,cinamom,cardamom,bayleaves,cumin,peppercorns and so on,roasted and ground to powder) for many, but in reality every local cuisine in India have their own secret blend ,specifically used in respective traditional recipes. A masala box,comprising of frequently used spice powders like Turmeric,Red chilly powder,Coriander-Cumin powder,Garam masala, whole mustard and cumin seeds is a kitchen essential, and is mostly passed on to the new bride from mothers. I received mine from both my Mother and Mother In Law. I’m doubly blessed with the spices, especially when it comes to the traditional Masalas. I get  my annual stock of Homemade Masala from my Mother ( for all my Mumbai style or Vadval Marathi recipes) and Kala Masala from Mother in Law ( for Maratha and Khandeshi recipes). While I use the store bought Garam Masala and Marathi Masala for everyday subjees and curries, the Kala Masala has a distinct aroma and flavour , and tastes best in hot and spicy curries , traditional Baingan Bharthas and Non Veg Curries. The aroma the curry boils with the masala added is magical and very appetising.

We fetch the whole Kala masala spices and ingredients,weighted and  prepacked together  from a specialised humble shop in old Nashik, ” Sukhlal Dagduteli Chandwadkar” called “Dagdu Teli Shop” casually. The masala gets its typical dark brown colour from the roasted dry coconut and spices. Most households make their yearly stock during summers , for the rest who missed it , there are small packets available in traditional shops, like the “Maharashtra Bhandar” near college road.

The masala has a very dominating and strong aroma, so make sure its added to the curry in measured amounts to prevent overpowering the base taste , especially when cooking with vegetables.

It might be a little hectic making Kala Masala, since each of the dry ingredients need to be roasted seperately,cooled and then ground, adding the roasted coconut step by step to facilitate blending. Also, the whole turmeric and asafoetida are little hard to grind. The masala might require passing through a sieve to discard any residual coarse particles. However, all the effort just seems worth it , when you savour your hot and spicy curry with fresh Bhakaris!

***The spices measured in gms depict accurate weights , but for simplicity I have approximated the values into numbers or tsps of ingredients. Lighter spices lik bay leaves n dagad phool may vary)***

We swear by the taste of homemade masala,but for those busybees who are crunched for time and cant wait to cook our Khandeshi Curries, you can buy ready made masala too.


  • 250 gms Dry Coconut /Khopra (21/2 halves)
  • 250 gms Coriander seeds
  • 250 gms Dried Red Chillies
  • 50 gms Black Pepper Corns (3/4cup)
  • 50 gms Whole Turmeric (5-6 roots 3..4 inch,or 1 cup approx)
  • 15 gms Cinnamon(1/4 cup broken or 4..6 rolls 2 inch each
  • 15 gms Cloves (1/4cup)
  • 15 gms (15-16nos)Black Cardamom/Badi Eliachi
  • 15 gms Shahi Jeera (1/4cup)
  • 15 gms Fennel Seeds (2 tbsps)
  • 15 gms Asafoetida (1 tbsp powder or about 2 cubes whole)
  • 30 gms(1-2tsp) Poppy Seeds ( foodgrade)/Khus Khus
  • 10 gms Dagad Phool(3/4 cup approx)
  • 25 gms Bay leaves/Tej Patta20-25 leaves)
  • 1 Nutmeg/Jaiphal
  • 3 gms Mace(2-3 whole)
  • 15 gms Dry Ginger/Sunth (2 roots 2-3 inch each or 1/4 cup)
  • 15 gms Cumin Seeds/Jeera (2tbsps)
  • Oil as required for roasting the spices


Step 1

Grate the dry coconut or khopra and dry roast them till brown. Set aside to cool. Lightly grind the roasted Khopra ,taking care to not make a sticky paste.Transfer in a plate Seperate the dry red chillies from the stem and roast them for 10 mins. Grind to a powder and set aside.

Step 2

Roast each ingredient seperately ,except turmeric and asafoetida in little oil and set aside to cool. Grind the Turmeric and asafoetida and pass through sieve. Grind together remaining ingredients in a grinder. Add the turmeric and asafoetida and red chilli ground earlier. Grind again. Now start adding the lightly ground khopra in 2-3 steps, grinding the masala in each addition.

Step 3

Once homogeneous, transfer on a plate to cool. Pass through sieve and grind the coarse residue. Once cooled, transfer the masala in airtight jar. Store in cool dry place.

Comments (27)

  1. posted by ravindra bavaskar on March 24, 2014

    One word Amazing!!
    Something i was looking for and found on this blog.
    Please suggest if any particular red chilly.

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on March 25, 2014

      Thank you so much Ravindra! Making this aromatic masala at home is the best way to enjoy authentic Khandesh Dishes! And I’m happy you chose to make it at home,rather than buy readymade. This masala does not call for any specific chilly, since most of the curries where Kala Masala is used, we use seperate red chilli powder as well. Neverthless red chilly does play important part in overall flavour. You might go for traditional”Bedagi Mirch” or regular Kashmiri,Spicy Patna Mirch ,or Reshampatta too. Make sure you buy the aromatic spices fresh and dry roast them with patience.

  2. posted by Tejive on May 16, 2014

    I am fan of khandeshi mutton, I am excited to try this out

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on May 16, 2014

      Hi! Do try n let us know! We are sure you ll love it.

  3. posted by Mrs Jayshree Modi on August 17, 2014

    Very informative recipes aboutkhandeshi cuisine

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on August 17, 2014

      Thanks so much! Glad you loved reading our blog.

  4. posted by Jayraj Panicker on August 17, 2014

    Hi just want to know where can i buy kala masala in and around dadar.lower parel .wadala or byculla

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on August 17, 2014

      Hi Jayraj, we are in the process of exploring the same. We always had sufficient masala made at home, so never ventured out to buy readymade ones. Will keep you posted once we find out. You can however try making the curries with homemade garam masala, not compromising on the quantity of dry coconut, oil n chillies.

  5. posted by Nandini Sathe on August 18, 2014

    I was looking for the recipe of Kala masala. Thanks for the recipe. My patodya chi amti was not tasting correct because I was using less chili powder and the goda masala (which I make at home and use while cooking). I was told by my friend that this recipe requires Khandeshi masala- kala masala. Now my amti will taste good. Thanks.

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on August 18, 2014

      Most welcome Nandini! Hard work always pays. I m sure with homemade masala, your curry would rock!

  6. posted by sandeep on August 23, 2014

    Hi, thanks for the blog and thanks for sharing Khandeshi recipes, can you pls add recipe for Khandeahi Sukha masala

  7. posted by sandeep on August 23, 2014

    Hi, thanks for the blog and thanks for sharing Khandeshi recipes , can you pleas ad recipe for Khandeshi mutton sukkah masala

  8. posted by sandeep on August 23, 2014

    Hi , thanks a lot for the blog and sharing Khandeshi recipes, can you please add recipes for Khandeshi sukha. Mutton masala

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on August 23, 2014

      Thank you! We are happy you like our traditional recipes. Mutton Sukka is made similar to Mutton Curry. Cook the meat similar to the method in curry.
      Make the roasted onion masala paste and fry till oil seperates .Add masalas n mutton without stock. Add a tbsp stock at a time, frying till oil nicely oozes out. add lots of coriander n serve. refer to mutton curry here
      Shall post the recipe n pictures nxt month, since we are fasting this holy month.
      Message us if you need any assistance.

  9. posted by sandeep on October 5, 2014

    Awaiting khandeshi sukha mutton recipe n pics …. My mail went unanswered

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on October 5, 2014

      Hi Sandeep,
      Apologies incase our reply didnt reach you. We did reply back to your comment the last time you had requested the recipe.
      Heres a brief recipe for the same
      “Make the roasted onion masala paste and fry till oil seperates .Add masalas n mutton without stock. Add a tbsp stock at a time, frying till oil nicely oozes out. add lots of coriander n serve. refer to mutton curry here
      Shall post the recipe n pictures nxt month, since we are fasting this holy month.
      Message us if you need any assistance.”
      Also, since past couple of months meant religious significance,we refrained from non veg food, hence couldnt fulfill your request for recipe pics immediately. However, we shall soon be cooking up a luscious mutton n post step by step pics within a week or two.
      Happy cooking!!

      • posted by sandeep on November 16, 2014

        Hi, I have a few queries , while roasting dry coconut for khandeshi mutton what should be the colour should it be golden brown or dark brown ? How much should be onions roasted ? What should be the final color… How does roasting affect the taste? Any other tip you would like to share to get the real authentic khandeshi taste.

        • posted by Harshada Sandhan on November 16, 2014

          Hi Sandeep,the grated khopra has to be slow roasted
          to a crisp golden brown. Onions n garlic are roasted in a tsp oil on tawa to a dark brown colour. But take care not to do it on high flame. Roast on a medium heat. Final colour of paste, together with the onion garlic ginger n khopra is brown, not too dark though. the roasting gives a nice smoky caramelised taste n texture,n the khopra releases extra oil,that forms a lively tarri over the curry.
          Take care to fry the paste in oil over medium heat, it oil separates out and only then add masalas n cooked meat along with its stock. Pre cooking mutton in onion n ginger garlic paste is essential. The stock from cooking the mutton gives a wonderful taste to curry.

  10. posted by Ravendra P Singh on October 5, 2014

    I am impressed of the facts that you are following your something you are passionate about. When I read first time your Midday article, equally impressive was Khandeshi style ( heard than first time) and Khaal masala (sounds magical). Thats when I thought I will follow more on this subject……….and its really interesting….I now want to follow your site on regular basis. For now I have few points where I need your views —
    1- Its spicy mainly due to high chilly portion, what is the purpose of cocunut in masala?
    2- In case if I want to use Shing (groundnut) as a variation, what is your suggestion what form and quantity I should use. I heard that in misal masala, shing paste is used and that aroma I like really. Thats why i want to try such variation.

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on October 7, 2014

      Thank you so much! I beam with pride,when people appreciate n relish my native cuisine. And glad you chose to get back to us! As for your queries:
      1)Maratha cuisine is predominantly spicy, derived from the heat of red chillies. Whereas kala masala in itself has red chillies n some dry coconut, the curries also call for a ground paste made with caramelized onions,garlic ginger n dry coconuts,along with additional red chilli powder.So the heat comes from partly spices in kala masala n of course additional red chilli powder in curries.
      Dry coconut in the recipe serves 2 purposes, one, it brings together onion n garlic paste and two, adds a base to the gravy, and also releases extra oil tht forms ” tarri” or a float of oil over the gravy.
      2) Roasted peanut powder is used in quiet a lot of recipes. Its used in brinjal bharith in coarse powder form, whereas mixed in water n pulsed in a blender and added to thicken regular subjis. Also a tsp or two of fine dry roasted peanut powder is added to dry subjis too, like red pumpkin, gavar, val papdi etc.
      Misal has many variations, across maharashtra.In Nasik n Khandesh, we use ground paste,made with onions,garic ginger,coriander leaves n dry coconut or khopra as base of misal.
      We shall be more than happy to assist you with any further queries n recipes.

  11. posted by Ajit Gaikwad on June 21, 2015

    nice post…
    pls explain d difference between kala goda masala and nashik kala masala.

  12. posted by Natasha on September 7, 2015

    Hi Harshada

    I was looking for a good kala masala recipe since long and came across this few days back. I made it yesterday and it took me more than 2 hours.. but my compliments to you. . The non veg tastes great with this masala.. and unlike a lot of other sites that don’t post accurate measurements of each ingredient or skip some ingredients You have really taken the trouble of posting the correct recipe.
    It was a pleasure having the delicious curry made in this masala.
    Do keep posting more non veg delicacies
    Thanks again !

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on September 7, 2015

      Thank You !!

  13. posted by GitaKalia on March 28, 2016

    Hi folks,

    I want to try to make this masala at home. I have all the ingredients but dont have means to measure accurately such small quantities. I would really appreciate if you could add the measures in approx tsps or nos (like in case of black elaichi). Thanks a tonne.

    • posted by Harshada Sandhan on April 2, 2016

      The major ingredients like sukka khopra ,chillies you can buy in exact weight, for the spices, i ll try giving approx nos or tsps whichever appropriate. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. posted by Javed Mulla on October 11, 2016

    i like all khandeshi dishes. But most is non veg like mutton
    please send recipies
    or do group on facebook or on whatsaap
    but only recipiecs not other.

    please reply.

    thank you

  15. posted by amit on December 13, 2016

    Do you sell this ? If not please start selling it ! will be jackpot

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