This blend of Indian spices with the French additions of shallots and onions is a current gourmet hot chef item. It’s thought to have originated due to French colonial influence in the Pondicherry region of India. The homemade version is adapted from Gourmet magazine.

Yield: 3 cups

  • 2 pounds onions, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound shallots, halved
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup light vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (Note well instruction number 3!)
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced curry leaves (optional, if you can get them)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper
  1. Pulse onions, shallots, and garlic in food processor till coarsely chopped, or chop them all small by hand.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan. Saute onions, shallots and garlic till golden-brown, stirring frequently so nothing sticks and burns. This takes about 20 minutes.
  3. Grind the fenugreek seeds in a spice grinder. You can’t use them whole! I made that mistake and they are rock-hard pellets. If you can’t grind them, leave them out.
  4. Add ground fenugreek to onion mixture, along with all the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.
  5. Transfer to a parchment paper lined sheet pan and spread out.
  6. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and partly dried out. Be sure to monitor this so it doesn’t start to burn.
  7. Use to make magic! Store 2 weeks in fridge, or 6 months in freezer.