Superspice Masala

Spices are essential for good digestion. This recipe is ideal for someone who is new to using spices or anyone looking for a simple go-to blend that’s balancing for all body types in all seasons.

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Photo Credit: ABC

This recipe is from What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen, by Divya Alter (Rizzoli, 2017).

With its mild flavor and yellow-ish color, Superspice Masala is superb for gently incorporating more spices into your food. If you’ve never cooked or eaten with these four spices before, start by adding a pinch or two of this masala with each meal. Gradually increase to ½ teaspoon per person per meal.

I like to take a small stash of the Superspice Masala when I travel and cannot cook for myself—I sprinkle a couple of pinches of it as a digestive aid on whatever savory food I eat. This blend goes well with any salty dish, such as soups, grains, vegetables, salads, protein, kitchari and buttermilk. If you are a kitchen adventurist, go ahead and blend ½ teaspoon in your vegetable smoothie.

Prep: 15 minutes

Makes About 1/2 Cup | Gluten free; Dairy free

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Separately dry-toast each spice in a heavy skillet (cast iron works well). The key is to keep the pan on low heat and to stir or shake almost constantly—this will toast the little seeds evenly without burning them. If you burn a spice, discard it and start again. Start with the coriander seeds because they take longer to toast. The seeds will begin to darken and release their aroma; they are done when they darken to a golden brown color—this could take up to 5 minutes.

Immediately transfer the toasted coriander to a dry bowl; repeat the same technique with the fennel seeds, and then with the cumin seeds. Enjoy the aromatherapy as you toast! Before you proceed with turmeric, turn off the heat and let the pan cool for a minute. Turmeric is a very fine powder that can burn within seconds, so you need to toast it at even lower heat. Add the turmeric to the slightly cooled pan and stir constantly. Within seconds, it will turn deep orange—this is when it’s done.

Transfer immediately to the bowl of toasted spices. If the turmeric turned brown, you have burned it along with all of its great properties—just discard it and start again. Let the toasted spices cool down.

Transfer all the spices to an electric grinder or spice mill and grind to a fine powder. store in an airtight jar away from light.


  • You may omit the dry-toasting steps and simply grind all the spices together in their raw form. Add this raw version of Superspice Masala at the beginning of cooking and let the spices simmer with your food for at least 10 to 15 minutes. This raw blend won’t be suitable for just sprinkling on food; you have to cook with it.
  • Do not make tea out of this blend.
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