Marvellous multi-purpose masala paste

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This is a hugely versatile spice paste that can be used as a base for meat, fish, and vegetable recipes. It has an excellent depth of flavour and brings a gentle welcome warmth rather than fiery heat. The recipe is based on one from Simon Hopkinson’s excellent book, The Vegetarian Option, which is extremely popular at Glut HQ.

4 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds

2 tsp whole cloves

2 tsp red chillies

Small handful of curry leaves

300g onions, peeled and chopped

125g crushed fresh garlic

150g grated ginger

2 tbsp tamarind paste

2 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

100g creamed coconut

2 tsp Maldon salt

2 tsp caster sugar

Tip the cumin, coriander, fennel and mustard seeds into a non-stick frying pan and toast for a few minutes until you can just smell their fragrance. Pour the toasted spices into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind or crush to a powder.

Tip the ground spices into a food processor and add all the other ingredients. Blitz into a paste and decant into a large jar. Cover the paste with a thin layer of oil and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.