Dhana jeera, called “dhana jiru” in my house, is a fragrant and toasty spice mix of cumin-coriander powder used in Gujarati cuisine. Cumin gives it an earthy, toasty flavor, and coriander balances that with a citrusy, floral fragrance. Gujaratis often make dhana jiru in large batches for use in our cooking over several months. This is my family recipe for this simple spice mix, which uses an even ratio by weight of cumin and coriander, or 2:1 by volume.
Using Dhana Jeera
Since the combination of cumin and coriander is common North Indian cuisines outside of Gujarati as well, I often use my dhana jiru for recipes that simply call for coriander and cumin. It’s simply a nice convenience to have them already prepared.
About the Recipe
The secret to good dhana jiru is in toasting the spices. If you are not comfortabl with dry roasting spices, it may take a little practice.
It is important to toast your spices separately. Coriander is more delicate than cumin. It will move from raw to toasted very quickly. Use a pan at medium heat and watch it closely, stirring constantly. The coriander is ready when it starts to turn golden and becomes very fragrant.
Roasting cumin is similar to roasting coriander but is more forgiving. The cumin will slowly turn from a gray color to toasted brown, and release a toasty fragrance. Stir and do not allow it to burn, remove from heat.
After that, grind the spices together. You can use the traditional mortar and pestle, but a small food processor or spice grinder will save you some sweat.
- More coriander – many families use a 2:1 ratio of coriander by weight, that would be 1 cup coriander to 1/4 cup cumin.
- If you prefer the flavor of cumin, you can use more cumin even though it isn’t traditional.
- In recipes that call for dhana jeera, if you don’t like coriander, just use toasted cumin.
If you make a lot, keep it in the freezer. When I was in college, my mom would make a lot for me, so I always had a little on my counter in my masala dhaba, with the extra in the freezer. Keeping it in the freezer, double bagged, helps retain flavor and prevents bugs from getting into it.
It will stay on the counter at room temperature for up to 3 months. I keep a smaller container on my counter at all time, in my masala dhaba. The convenience of having it within reach makes up for the loss of shelf-life. When stored for a long time, or in open containers, it won’t go bad, but it will lose flavor more quickly.
Dhana Jeera | Dhana Jiru
- ½ cup coriander seeds
- ¼ cup cumin seeds
- Toast coriander seeds until slightly golden and fragrant.
- Toast the cumin seeds until lightly brown and fragrant.
- Coarsely grind the spices together in a spice grinder, food processor or mortar and pestle.