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Sauces and Condiments

Kenya masala butter

On the Indian restaurant circuit, it's mainly generic Indian fare on the menu, with a heavy northern bias. To experience the diversity of India's culinary landscape, your best bet is to be invited to someone's home. Happily, recent cookbooks such ... Read more

Total time: About 20 minutes | Makes a little more than one-half cup compound butter
  • 2 to 3 small dried red chiles
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste

Step 1Place the dried chiles in a small saucepan and fill with enough water to just cover the chiles. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the chiles to soak until thoroughly softened. Drain the water and coarsely chop the chiles.

Step 2Place the butter in a medium bowl and whisk until it is light and creamy.

Step 3Bruise the cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle. Whisk them into the butter. Using the mortar and pestle or a food processor, puree the garlic and add it to the butter. Puree the chiles the same way and add them to the butter to taste. Season to taste with salt. The butter can be served right away or refrigerated up to a week.

Note: Adapted from "My Bombay Kitchen" by Niloufer Ichaporia King. This compound butter is recommended with grilled corn on the cob or roasted or boiled potatoes, as well as grilled fish, chicken or shrimp. To give the butter a smoky taste, you can substitute one of the chiles in the recipe with a chipotle chile. Lime wedges can be served as an accompaniment.
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