The flavor of this paste is something I grew up, and it’s one of my favorite flavors. This masala paste is frequently used to marinate fish and is used when preparing bone-in coconut chicken curry with fresh curry leaves or a south Indian lamb stew. To make this masala, the spices and dried red chilies are tempered in oil first and then ground to a paste. Traditionally the masala ingredients are ground in a stone grinder, but for convenience I use a food processor or blender. I make this masala paste in large batches. And for a good reason! If you have some on hand, you can whip up a quick flavor-packed meal in minutes. I love to smear this on fish fillets like tilapia, sea bass or halibut and pan-fry them. Sometimes I make a quick curry by boiling meat or vegetables with coconut milk, Red Masala Paste and fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
Heat the oil in a large non-1 stick skillet over medium heat. Add the chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cinnamon, fenugreek, if using, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring until aromatic, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the spices from the skillet and let cool slightly.
Place the spice mixture in 2 a food processor or blender. Add the coconut, tamarind and turmeric. Process the mixture to make a smooth paste adding water a little at a time. Stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the processor
Transfer to an airtight con-3 tainer. Store the masala in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
TIP For a longer shelf life always use a clean spoon each time you dip into your masala jar. It is a common habit for new cooks, especially those in training in busy professional kitchens, to use dirty spoons or double dip spice pastes or masalas, which will cause the blend to go rancid sooner than it would otherwise. It’s a shame to waste a large batch of this spice paste simply from a bad habit!