If you’ve had the chance to try good Indian food, it’s likely that you’ve had a meal featuring a tandoori spice blend. This flavorful spice mix adds richness and depth to a variety of dishes.
Love adding flavor with herbs and spices? Learn more about using Thai spices here!
As with so many recipes, a tandoori masala spice blend will vary from chef to chef. Once you’ve sampled this, you may decide you like yours more garlicky. Or hotter. Or saltier. The beauty of a spice blend like this is that you can alter it to suit your tastes!
(I tend to try a recipe as its written first, then adjust accordingly.)
Easy Tandoori Masala
This seasoning mix is known as tandoori masala. Not to be confused with garam masala. What’s the difference? Tandoori masala is most often used as a marinade for meats, while garam masala is added to cooked dishes.
Chicken tikka masala, for instance, calls for raw chicken to be marinated in yogurt and tandoori seasoning, then cooked before adding the meat to a sauce. Tandoori chicken is also marinated, but this grilled chicken is served without a sauce.
This recipe is made up entirely of spices, some whole, some powdered. Let’s look at some of the more uncommon ones.
Mace: This spice actually goes hand in hand with nutmeg. It’s the outer covering of nutmeg! For fun, you can see it here.
Cardamom: One of my favorite spices, green cardamom provides a citrusy, floral note to recipes.
Coriander: In the US, coriander refers to the seeds of the cilantro plant. In other regions, the word coriander refers to both the seeds and the leaves.
Fenugreek seeds: Providing a nutty, slightly sweet taste, these hard seeds can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Preparing the Tandoori Spice Mix
The key to bringing out the flavors of some of the spices is toasting them. You’ll do this with the whole spices by heating them in a skillet over medium low heat for a minute or two.
Set the toasted spices aside to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, combine the whole spices with the remaining powdered spices in the carafe of a blender and grind into a fine powder.
Place seasoning blend in an airtight container and use within 6 months’ time for best flavor.
- 3 mace blades
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 cardamom, green
- 2-inch piece cinnamon
- 3-5 whole cloves
- 4 tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed
- 2 tablespoons fenugreek
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the spices, shaking the pan constantly, until fragrant. This should take about 2 minutes.
2. Allow whole spices to cool. Transfer these whole spices to a blender and blend. Add the powdered spices (salt, sugar, etc) to the blender and grind to a fine powder.
3. Shake well. Store in a glass jar or other airtight container in a cool, dark place.
If whole spices are not available, you can use powdered or ground spices instead, but don't toast them.