Goan Masala

This is an indispensable masala in Goan kitchens. It is found in most homes in Boa and is used for many seafood dishes as well as white meat ones. This recipe makes about 200g, any leftovers will keep in a jar in the refrigerator for 3-6 months.

200g Masala Paste
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes


Dry Ingredients

  • 75g small dried hot red chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cm piece of cinnamon bark, broken up into bits
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp hot paprika

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 50g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 150ml palm or cider vinegar


  1. Dry Ingredients: Grind the dry ingredients together in a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder to a powder.
  2. Wet Ingredients: Heat some oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. When the oil is hot add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook until the onion is soft and transparent, remove from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the wet ingredients including the vinegar to the dry ingredients in the mortar and pestle and grind to a paste. Alternatively place all the wet and dry ingredients together in a food processor and process to a smooth paste (you may need a little more vinegar but be careful not to add to much).
  4. To Store: Place the mixture in sterilised jar with a little oil over the top of the masala. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.