What’s in my pantry?

I believe that if you always have basics in your pantry you can literally cook something from nothing. Over time my cupboard has become well stocked mostly because  I am always trying new recipes but also I just can’t resist something that is on offer (knowing that I will find some use for it sooner rather than later).

Here is a list of my top 10 herbs and spices that I couldn’t live without when it comes to Indian cooking:

  1. Garam Masala
  2. Ground cumin
  3. Ground coriander
  4. Turmeric
  5. Chilli Powder
  6. Mustard Seeds
  7. Cumin Seeds
  8. Cloves
  9. Cinnamon
  10. Asafoetida Powder (Hing)

Of course the list of ingredients can go on but this is just a starter.

Now there is one other ingredient or rather mix of ingredients that I could never be without.

Fresh Masala

This is a fresh chilli mix that I use in nearly all my indian cooking and other cooking. If you are reading this I urge you take the time to make it as it will be life changing when it comes to cooking.

You’ll need:

  • 2, 400g sterilised jars to store it in/ air tight plastic containers if you plan on freezing
  • chopper or blender to make the mixture


This amount fills about an 800g jar so adjust according to how much you would like to make.

  • 250g fresh hot chillies (birdseye)
  • 175g fresh ginger skin removed
  • 100g fresh garlic skin removed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp of chilli powder
  • Sunflower or canola oil (to preserve the mixture)


1. Remove stems from the chillies

2. Remove skin from both the ginger and garlic ( I find a vegetable peeler works well with the ginger)

3. Wash chillies and dry on tea towel

4. Chop the ginger into 2-3cm size pieces

5. Add chillies, garlic and ginger to chopper/blender with about a tbsp oil and chop until it is finely chopped (depending on size of chopper you may need to do this in batches)

6. Put chopped ingredients in a large bowl

7. Add the salt, turmeric and chilli powder* to the mixture and stir through

8. Add more oil so ingredients are coated with (not swimming in) oil – this will stop the fresh masala going dry or mouldy

9. Fill your jars and keep in the fridge until you need it or what I normally do is freeze half of it in a plastic container.

* I generally have 2 types of fresh masala in my fridge one with chilli powder to use in meat dishes and one without for vegetarian dishes but it’s just as good to have the one type.

Later this week I will post a recipe you can use the fresh masala in.

13 Responses to “What’s in my pantry?”

  1. Alyze Dvorak Says:

    You have very nice recipe nosh.

  2. Nina this is great. I am going to cook like you :)) whats the difference between the green and red masala in the picture – is it just the colour of the chillies you use?? I thought birdseye were always red?

    • So Mr Fry….yes it is the colour of the chillies. All chillies start off green and turn red as they mature. Chilli powder is then made from red chillies that are dried and ground down.

  3. Looks delicious, cannot wait to make!

  4. […] ninasnosh « What’s in my pantry? […]

  5. I made it, but for non-Indian, maybe this amount is a bit too much! Thought it would fit in my 400g jar, but was double the amount!

    Can’t wait to use it in other recipes 🙂

  6. Claire Gargan Says:

    My friend made this for me last week,was delicious so I just got all the ingredients in myself and am going to attempt it tonight,very easy recipe to follow thank god 🙂

  7. Awesome recipe – made it again tonight for some neighbours – fortunately made enough for some leftovers so I can enjoy again in the week!!! 🙂

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