Lazzat-E-Taam Potli Masala

Recipe 5 minPreparation Time 3 minCooking Time

Lazzat-E-Taam Potli Masala

5 minPreparation Time 3 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Lazzat-E-Taam is an aromatic potli masala (bouquet garni) of about two dozen herbs and spices. The recipe was once a closely guarded secret of the khansamas (royal cooks) of Awadh, a north Indian princely state of the 18th and 19th centuries. In an era that predates the existence of electric spice mills for finely ground blends, the potli was an ingenious way to distill the essence of these spices. And continues to be the highlight of traditional Awadhi biryani and salan (curries). You can use it to add a depth of flavor to grains, gravies, soups, broths, and stocks.

The Benefits

Spices are tiny parcels packed with big flavor, nutrients, and essential oils. A rich source of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents, they can aid digestion and metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost overall immunity. This recipe harnesses several specific benefits: The eugenol in cloves numbs pain; soothing green cardamom is a traditional remedy for nausea. Black pepper, cumin, cubeb, and dried lemongrass are great digestive aids, and rich in immunity-boosting antioxidants. Anti-inflammatory nutmeg may alleviate the symptoms of depression, according to studies. Mineral-rich coriander seeds have cardiovascular benefits, while caraway contains iron and copper. Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity, and sandalwood has soothing, mood-lifting properties. Rose petals, with antioxidant gallic acid and anthocyanins, benefit eye health, memory, and mood. And barberry is a source of the antioxidant berberine, as well as vitamin C and iron, which in combination can help with anemia.

Note: You can find these herbs and spices at Asian grocery stores or an herbal apothecary.  


1 potli
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 3 to 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • 1 blade of mace
  • 2-inch-long cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp kababchini (cubeb)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 bay leaf, cut into small bits
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp baobeer (barberry)
  • ½-inch-long paan ki jad (dried galangal)
  • 1 tsp chopped (5 g) khus ki jad (vetiver roots)
  • ½ tsp sandalwood powder
  • 1 tsp rose petals
  • 1 tsp jarakhush (dried lemongrass)
  • 1 tsp dry fennel leaves
  • 15-inch x 15-inch muslin cloth to make the bouquet garni
  • 1 tsp kewra (pandan flower extract)
  • 1 tsp meetha attar (an edible essential oil)
  • A 20-inch-long twine (optional)


  1. Step 1
    Lightly toast the clove, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, kababchini, cumin, caraway, bay leaf, poppy, fennel, star anise, white pepper, barberry, galangal and vetiver roots on a griddle or large frying pan for 2 to 3 minutes on a very low flame until aromatic. Remove from heat.
  2. Step 2
    Once the spices are cool, mix with the sandalwood powder, rose petals, jarakhush, and dried fennel leaves. Lightly crush the mix in a mortar (this is optional, but will help release more of the oils). Transfer to the muslin cloth and drizzle with kewra and meetha attar.
  3. Step 3
    Gather the four corners and twist to form a pouch. Tie alternate corners into tight knots to secure the potli, or use kitchen twine to tie it up. Add the bouquet garni to the stockpot when cooking gravies, soups, stocks and stews. Remember to remove the potli before serving.