Vadouvan Indian Spice Blend 2 Comments

Aug 17, 2009

Don’t let the fact that you haven’t heard of Vadouvan deter you from making it your best secret party trick. Vadouvan is an incredibly fragrant Indian spice blend with a strong French influence.

The main ingredients are everyday pantry items: onions, garlic and shallots combined with an array of spices consisting of fenugreek seeds, cumin, cardamom, mustard seeds, turmeric, nutmeg, ground cloves, red-pepper flakes and curry leaves.

Each spice adds a unique layer of flavor, color, texture and taste to the caramelized onions, shallots and garlic. The result is a deep and intensely concentrated spice blend. Vadouvan gives off a gold hue when cooking with it, so expect to see the gold color weaved through your ingredients.

Think of vadouvan as a spicy onion mix that you can use to add flavor to fish, meats, soups and roasted vegetables.

Vadouvan Indian Spice Blend (Image 2)


2 pounds onions, cut into half
1 pound shallots, halved
12 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon ground cloves


about 3 cups

Cook Time

3 hours


Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Pulse onions in 3 batches in a food processor until very coarsely chopped (there may be a few large pieces remaining), transferring to a bowl. Repeat with shallots, then garlic.

Heat oil in a deep 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onions, shallots, and garlic (stir often) until golden and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes

Grind fenugreek seeds in grinder or with mortar and pestle. Add to onion mixture along with remaining ingredients, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and stir until combined.

Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined large 4-sided sheet pan and spread as thinly and evenly as possible. Bake, stirring occasionally with a skewer to separate onions, until well browned and barely moist, about 30 minutes – 1 hour.

I put the onion mixture into two separate baking trays and kept my eye on it closely. The onions on the edge of the tray cooked quicker so I removed them from the oven. I kept checking every eight minutes or so, as I didn’t want the onions to burn.


Gourmet Magazine

Filed Under

Sauces| Rubs| Blends

Spices Used

Cumin, Chili, Cloves, Turmeric, Cardamom, Mustard Seeds, Fenugreek and Nutmeg and Mace

Other Ingredients Used

Shallot, Onions and Garlic


This looks amazing! I will give it a try.

—John, over 4 years ago

This is truly amazing! Just used it in a red lentil soup with spectacular results!

—PEMorgan, over 4 years ago

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