Unveiling the Spice of Durban: A Deep Dive into Dhania & Jeera Powder

Welcome back, spice lovers! Today, we continue our journey through the vibrant culinary landscape of Durban, South Africa. After discovering the fiery charm of the Mother-in-Law Masala, it’s time to delve into the world of Dhania & Jeera Powder. This potent blend of coriander (dhania) and cumin (jeera) forms an essential component of Durban’s iconic Indian-inspired cuisine. Let’s unravel the mysteries of this flavor duo.

The Basics: What is Dhania & Jeera Powder?

Dhania, or coriander, is a staple herb that lends its distinct aroma and taste to numerous dishes. Dhania powder is made by grinding the dried seeds of the coriander plant into a fine powder. The toasty, citrusy, slightly sweet flavor of dhania powder adds depth to the dishes it graces.

Similarly, jeera, or cumin, brings its own unique character to the blend. Known for its earthy, spicy-sweet aroma, jeera powder is produced by grinding dried cumin seeds into a powder. This spice is renowned for its ability to impart a warming sensation and robust flavor to dishes.

The preparation of these powders is an art in itself. The process begins by roasting the seeds in a heavy-based pan over medium heat. The aim is to reach a point where the seeds can easily crack open between your fingers, typically achieved within 2-4 minutes. Once cool, these toasted seeds are ground, either manually using a pestle and mortar or mechanically with a coffee grinder or blender, transforming them into fine powder.

Remember, it’s crucial to let your roasted seeds cool thoroughly before grinding them. Once ground, store the powders in an airtight container to preserve their freshness and potency.

Dhania & Jeera Powder in Durban Cuisine

The dhania and jeera powders, either individually or in combination, find extensive use in Durban’s Indian-inspired cuisine. A typical starting ratio for this blend is about two parts dhania powder to one part jeera powder. This proportion, however, can be adjusted according to personal preferences and the requirements of the dish at hand.

If you’re mainly using your dhania and jeera powders for curry preparation, you can roast 2 cups of dhania (coriander) seeds and 1 cup of jeera (cumin) seeds together, and then grind them simultaneously. This approach creates a harmonious blend of these two spices, ready to lend their joint magic to the pot of curry simmering on your stove.

So, the next time you find yourself exploring the spice markets of Durban or trying your hand at a Durban curry, remember the humble yet powerful Dhania & Jeera Powder. This duo is a testament to the city’s love affair with spices, and their presence in Durban cuisine is as vital as the city’s warm, inviting spirit.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore the vibrant spices and flavors that make Durban a food lover’s paradise! Until then, happy cooking, and as always, keep exploring the world of spice.

Here is some information on making your own dhania & jeera powder and here is a recipe below.

Homemade Dhania & Jeera Powder Recipe


  • 100g (approx. 1/2 cup) Dhania (Coriander) seeds
  • 50g (approx. 1/4 cup) Jeera (Cumin) seeds


  • Heavy-bottomed pan
  • Coffee grinder, food blender, or pestle & mortar
  • Airtight storage container


  1. Roasting the Seeds: Place your heavy-bottomed pan on the stove over medium heat. Add 100g (or approximately 1/2 cup) of dhania (coriander) seeds and 50g (or about 1/4 cup) of jeera (cumin) seeds to the pan. Remember, the ratio of dhania to jeera is typically 2:1, but feel free to adjust according to your preference.
  2. Stir and Monitor: Stir the seeds continuously to ensure even roasting and prevent burning. The dhania seeds will be ready when you can easily crack them open between your fingers. The jeera seeds will change color slightly and emit a fragrant aroma when ready. This process should take approximately 2-4 minutes.
  3. Cooling the Seeds: Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the seeds to a plate or tray, spreading them out to cool. It’s important to let them cool completely before grinding to avoid condensation, which can affect the texture and flavor of the powder.
  4. Grinding the Seeds: Once the seeds have cooled, place them in your grinder, blender, or pestle & mortar. Grind them to a fine powder.
  5. Storing the Powder: Transfer your freshly made Dhania & Jeera powder to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place to maintain its freshness and potency.

Enjoy this flavorful blend in your favorite recipes. Remember, a little goes a long way with this potent mixture, so start with small amounts and adjust to taste. Happy cooking!