Tandoori Masala

Tandoori Masala

Tandoori Masala

I never thought I would make masalas at home someday. Never. It’s for mom’s, grandmom’s and MDH/Everest, not for me. Or so I thought. Until now. Until I started taking my food seriously, until I observed health scares, food adulteration and until I started blogging.

Blogging has opened such new avenues, roads and direction, that attempting something new or bizarre is on my TO-Do list most of the time. It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful that I at least ‘think’ of making bread at home(till a year back I would have said ‘are u mad?!’ )
And now, I want to make granola, pies, tart cases, breads, dried nuggets, masalas at home! Yay! πŸ™‚

Moral: Never say ‘Never’.

Whole Spices

Whole Spices

The beauty of making things from scratch is that it is actually not that difficult as they seem to be. Especially these spice powders/masalas. With the right ingredients at hand, all you need is the zest to do stuff.

The other day I set out to make paneer tikka. Opening up my precious saved recipes, I glance through the ingredient list and am bummed by the presence of Tandoori Masala.

Now a little word on my culinary needs and uses for these spice powders. Usually, mostly I refrain from using these mixes. Especially the market variety where they use preservatives and colors. The only powders I use are for Channa and Sambhar – both of which are sent by dear mothers( God bless them!). And sometimes, when mother attempts something new, she sends me a little of that too. Sweet.
But, now with no tandoori masala at hand, I set to make some of my own.

Fresh, fragrant and fantastic

Fresh, fragrant and fantastic

Stunned by the simplicity of the procedure, I was even more ecstatic with the fragrance it emanates once mixed with food.

I am fascinated by colors, beauty and aroma of what nature has to offer, like this gorgeous Star Aniseed. Its fragrant, flavorful and fabulous. Just one or two of this beautiful spice is enough to take anything to another realm.

Star of the masala

Star of the masala

tbsp: tablespoon
tsp: teaspoon


  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1-2 star aniseed
  • 3/4 tbsp cloves
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tbsp red chili powder(I use kashmiri powder – very red but not very spicy)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tsp salt


Heat a wok, dry roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star aniseed, cloves and cinnamon. After 7-8 minutes, switch the flame off. Cool the mix. Grind along with red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Store in air tight container.

I live in Mumbai, where its hot and humid most of the time, so I refrigerate the spice mixes in order to retain color and flavor. So, please do as you deem fit.

For best results, use this powder as a garnish or stir it in the last minute and avoid cooking it.

Dry Roasted and Finely ground

Dry Roasted and Finely ground

Uses of Tandoori Masala:

1. In the marinade for Paneer Tikka.
2. On Punjabi tandoori Pizzas
3. Stir/Garnish it in soups/dals.
4. Best in punjabi dishes, like Dal Makhani, Paneer makhani etc.
5. Non vegetarians can use it with their chicken.
6. Sprinkle on pakoras/bhajjiyas
7. Sprinkle on paneer or vegetables in kathi rolls.

I have tried this aromatic mix on pizzas, dal makhni and paneer tikka wrap. Needless to say the result were outstanding.

Great for pizzas, tikkas, curries and biryanis

Great for pizzas, tikkas, curries and biryanis

40 thoughts on “Tandoori Masala

  1. Nice Namrata. I was searching for this, but outside I guess they sell it as ‘chicken tandoori masala’. The recipe looks quite simple and I am trying it real soon. Thanks.

    • Actually I haven’t really tried finding this spice mix outside, but one of my friends complained on similar lines. But now since this recipe is so easy… you can make it anytime πŸ™‚

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    • With the festival season in full swing, along wit diwali cleaning n routine work, I am so hard pressed for time. I do cook, but to steal time to photograph n make a post of it, seems arduous in these months.. :(, Im trying to be more regular with my posts now.
      Btw, I am enjoying your recipes and little tits bits of your beautiful life. Keep them coming.

  3. It’s funny and wonderful when we find joy in doing something we thought we’d never do! You’ve made your own masala – you’re a real “foodie” now!! Beautiful photos! Celeste πŸ™‚

    • That spoon is my daughters find. She loved it at first sight and insisted on buying it. Now I usually use it to photograph my food, rest of the time it sits neatly in ‘her’ kitchen set.

    • I think its a wonderful idea to mix nutmeg, never thought of it. When I am trying something, I usually make a very small batch and test, so maybe you could do that too. Let me know the effect of nutmeg in it..

  4. Nice!!! So finally you’ve let out the secret to the seductively luscious looking chicken tandoori or may be even paneer πŸ™‚ … One thing, what if i use red chillies and not the red chilli powder?

    • Not a problem at all. And if the chilies are kashmiri then even better. The actual recipe calls for red food color, but I don’t encourage anyone to use it. So we try achieving the right color using the right ingredients πŸ˜‰

      • Absolutely!! Thumbs up to that…. I too hate using artificial agents when cooking. That apart, this one is a must try πŸ™‚

  5. Hello there Namrata! This is my first visit to your beautiful blog and I am already in love with your approach to writing and cooking! Fantastic recipe for a rather daunting spice paste (you did so well!) x

  6. You are so right, Dimple, about the impact of blogging upon cooking, at least mine anyway. My weekly menu is far different from what it was 3 years ago — and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve pinned this recipe. I don’t know when I’ll use but I know I will. Thanks!

  7. I’ve been begging my mother to share her Tandoori recipe with me, but of course she’s been doing it for so many years she doesn’t know the measurements to anything. Sigh. Thanks for sharing Namrata, going to try this and see what my mom thinks of my new skills πŸ˜‰


    • πŸ™‚ Great! Mom’s are like that, they usually eye ball the quantity, I too have a tough time dealing with my mother.
      Thank you for stopping by, do let me know what your mum thinks of it.

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  9. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
    I do not need to depend on the store bought ones from now on πŸ™‚
    Thanks a bunch for the recipe which will make my Tandoori nights much more intense πŸ™‚

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