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Mar 6, 2008 12:46 PM

Recipe for "wet masala"?

I am looking for a recipe for a typical wet masala. This is used by some Indian cooks to rub onto meat before cooking in a "curry". Most of these wet masalas consist of a mixture of garlic, ginger, oil and spices. I realize that these are all typical ingredients - separately - in curries, but am nevertheless looking for recipes for a typical mixture.

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  1. If I were to use the term wet masala I would mean that the dish ends up with some gravy at the end, as opposed to being dry. Do you mean a marinade? What marinade you use will depend on what dish you are preparing if the dish specifically requires a marinade and then cooking on high heat in oil afterwards. A typical one would be say for 1 lbs meat, you would use 1/2 -1 cup yoghurt to tenderize the meat, 1/2 tsp turmeric to kill any smell in the meat, and then for flavor, 1 heaping tsp garlic crushed, 1 tsp crushed ginger, 1 heaping tsp coriander powder, 1 heaping tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder. For sourness and also tenderization, 1 tbs lemon juice. Depending on what you are making there may be other spices as well, and also possiby some ground caramelized onions. I wouldn't add salt at this point cuz it will bring the juices out of the meat. Hope that helps.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      You are aware that flavor palettes vary dramatically from south to north, west to east. I suppose that you are looking for a meat marinade. Chicken is too soft, here, and will "melt", disintegrate, unless you are using aged fowl or have access to range raised chicken that are are several months old, e.g. 8-10 months. This will assure that their muscle fibers are tougher and have the requisite amounts of collagen and connective tissue. The wet masala marinades are specifically designed to impart flavor and enymatically break down drier,tougher meat that USED to be the norm in India. Ginger paste,for example,is a potent protein digester,as are figs, the cucurbit named "kachri", dried figs, etc.

      I shall urge you to NEVER cook INDIAN meat without bones, with boneless chunks.The flavor changes dramatically with the latter,always for the worse.

      Never buy generic Australian frozen chunked goat meat that comes in 2lb packs. They are absolute garbage being s old in US supermarkets,as far as cooking quality Indian dishes are concerned. Bony, fatty, trash. Get quality meat from local goat producers or at halal markets. If the latter are Pakistani or Indian butchers they will understand terms like PUTT, seena, dast,etc. Tell them what you are cooking and they will explain everything to you!!

      When you speak of WET MASALA,the seekh kabab of West Bengal comes in finely butchered ribbons of meat with a specific marinade, bihari kebab of Dhaka with its own wet marinade, various kebabs also with specific wet marinades. A whole special field with special butchery and wet marinades. Talk to these butchers, watch how they work, you will be spellbound,and they will be happy to teach.

      If using lamb,buy shanks,have them cut into chunks. Neck bones are good too. Eat with your hands and to enjoy FAT. French cooking CAN use a LOT OF FAT, hiding it in their sauces!

      An alternative is to appreciate the textures of various muscle groups, various types of fat groups on the animal, the different types of cartilages, collagens, sinews, bones, marrows, connetive tissue, chewiness, textures, and the whole experience of enjoying meat eating slowly,relaxing, and one that can only happen if you do it by hand, in a sem-reclining position, with an array of flat breads, and lots of friends and a hedonistic disposition.Remember the Romans? They used much the same spices as we do, sans some!That'stheway to enjoy Indian food. NOT the Calvinist "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Mode!

      NO trimming fat. God CREATED fat, on the poor lamb and us, both, with blessed impartiality and joy. May healthy peeps live long and happy lives. Perhaps it merely seems longer when you are only eating quinoa and sitting upright all the while on a pointy mountain top with nothing between the pointy place and you?

      There is nothing called chicken breast or lamb leg cubes! These turn dry and powdery when touched by boiling water. North Indian meat cookery =seethed in own juices and cooked in fat,as far as possible.

      Here are a couple of easy-peasy ones to get your juices flowing. When you try them out and hate them or like them, we can move on to other examples. The point here is to help you to get your toes into the swimming pool.Try what appeals to your tastes. Tell us what you did not like. Change proportions to your liking. Let marinaded meat sit in covered glass tupperware in refrigerator for some hours, bring to room temps for an hour. If you have an unglazed Romertopf,or glazed SANDY POT, these are great to cook with. Forget the Indian obsession with pressure cookers, which destroy some flavors and impart steamy notes. Sandy pots are great with a parchment paper to seal.Dutch ovens,ceramic lined, inside an oven, slowly cooking away, are great too. Place Romertops on a roasting tray, water as in a bain marie, follow directions. Ask without hesitation for any clarifications.

      Bay leaves = cassia, cinnamon =cassia.

      Happy cooking.
      Saraswat Brahman meat masala