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.
Note: You can find these herbs and spices at Asian grocery stores or an herbal apothecary.
- 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)
Step 1Lightly 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.
Step 2Once 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.
Step 3Gather 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.