Tandoori masala is an Indian spice mix consisting of a variety of spices, including cumin, coriander, and turmeric. A tandoor is a type of clay oven first used in India that allows for high-heat cooking. Popular dishes at Indian restaurants in America include tandoori chicken and shrimp, which are typically marinated and seasoned using a spice mix like this one. Masala means "seasoning" in Hindi, one of the main languages spoken in India. Tandoori masala is used to flavor many Indian dishes and provides a savory, aromatic, and lightly spicy flavor.
You can make this spice mix ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for a month or two, but you'll get the best flavor the fresher it is. After a couple of months the flavors will start to diminish, so only make as much as you think you will use. Having the spice mix handy makes creating a tasty meal a simple matter of marinating and grilling your dish.
Gather the ingredients.
Toast the cumin, coriander seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a pan over low heat until they begin to release their aroma. Remove the spices from heat and allow them to cool.
Grind the toasted cumin, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon along with the ginger powder, garlic powder, chili powder, turmeric, mace, salt, and food coloring (if using) in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Process to form a smooth powder.
Store the spice mixture in an airtight container for up to 6 to 8 weeks.
- If you do not want to use food coloring, substitute it with 20 grams of Kashmiri red chilis. They provide a terrific color without as much heat as other varieties of dry red chilis.
- If you are using Kashmiri red chilis, omit the chili powder from the recipe.
- Before you use the chilies, lightly toast them in a hot pan until they are aromatic, then grind them into a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee or spice grinder. Combine with the rest of your spice mix.
- Toasting and grinding whole spices provides far better flavor that using already ground packaged spices.
- Look for Indian chili powder, not Southwestern American chili powder which is actually a blend of spices. The two spices have a very different flavor profile.
- Make sure your coffee or spice grinder is very clean before making the mix to avoid any cross-contaminating flavors. Clean it immediately after to avoid a lingering scent.