Food & Drink

Balchao masala

Balchao masala

1/2 cup cider vinegar or malt vinegar

1 teaspoon tamarind paste or concentrate, sold at Asian markets

1 cup dried red chilies or cayenne chilies, stems removed

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

1/2 ground turmeric

12 medium-size cloves garlic

2 lengthwise slices fresh ginger (each 2 1/2 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1/2-inch thick)

2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long), broken into smaller pieces

Makes 1/2 cup.

Pour vinegar into blender jar. Add all remaining ingredients. Puree, stopping motor and scraping down sides of jar as needed, until it forms a highly pungent, reddish-brown paste. If necessary, add a little water.

Store mixture in tightly sealed nonreactive container.

The salmon dish requires 1 tablespoon of this red chili and vinegar paste. Leftover paste can be refrigerate well-sealed for up to 2 weeks, or it can be frozen in small batches up to 2 months. I used small portions of leftover paste stirred into rice, cooked green beans, roasted potatoes and brushed on grilled pork loin. Yum.

Nutritional information (per tablespoon): Calories 35 (less than 5 percent from fat), protein 0.5 g, carbohydrates 5.1 g, fat 1.5 g (saturated 0.5 g), cholesterol 0.1 mg, sodium 45 mg, fiber 0.1 g.