How To Make Tandoori Masala

Tandoori masala

This tandoori masala will take your tandoori dishes to the next level.

In most of the Indian restaurant kitchens I have visited, the chef has his own special blend of garam masala that he uses in his curries and marinades. Tandoori masala, on the other hand is usually a commercial brand. There are some great tandoori masalas out there.

So you really could achieve that amazing curry house tandoori flavour using a commercial brand. This is a recipe I’ve developed over the past couple of years and I do make it often.

The roasted spices take everything up a notch. The resulting tandoori masala is great used as a dry rub or mixed into marinades and curries. I usually use mango powder (amchoor) to add a nice citric flavour to the blend. If you want that tandoori restaurant flavour, however you will need to use citric acid powder.

Once you’ve made this recipe, you might like to try making a tandoor masala paste with the powder. Here is the link to my recipe. The paste lasts longer than the ground powder and is delicious stirred into curries, raitas and marinades.

I don’t always add red food colouring powder as it adds not flavour. If you want that curry house look, however, you might like to add it.



Roasting spices.

Roasting the spices.

Making tandoori masala

Grinding the garlic and dried onion.

Making tandoori masala

Mix the ground spices with the ground garlic and onion.

Making tandoori masala

Adding food colouring is optional.


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How To Make Tandoori Masala
Recipe type: Spice Blends
Cuisine: Indian BIR
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: a lot
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried bayleaves
  • 1 small piece of mace
  • 5 tablespoons dried garlic flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon anchoor (mango) powder or citric acid
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) red food colouring powder (optional)
  1. Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and mace in a dry frying pan and place over medium heat.
  2. Move the spices around in the pan so that they roast evenly. When the spices become warm to the touch and fragrant, remove them from the heat to cool.
  3. Grind these spices with a spice grinder or pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder.
  4. Now grind the garlic and onion flakes until you again have a fine powder and add this mixture to the ground spices along with the ginger powder and amchoor or citric acid powder.
  5. Add food colouring until you are happy with the colour and then store the tandoori masala in an airtight container in a cool cupboard and use as required.

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  1. Jules D. says

    As I do agree with you that spices are the best when freshly ground per use. Though, not everyone has the luxury of this procedure on a daily basis and in my experience I have noticed some difference but it’s not extreme, just as long as the spices are kept in appropriate temperature, humidity and packaging for the spices and no longer than a few months.

    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Jules

      Very true. I use both but do enjoy making my own. There are some nice -off the shelf – tandoori powders on the market.

  2. says

    I love blending spices for curry. Can’t beat home made spices. It’s got the extra ingredients like love and patience and I am sure it makes the food taste nicer.

  3. says

    I have corresponded with Birgit Erath of the Spice shop (London and Germany) and she has told me horror stories of some tandoori masalla’s containing ground up red brick for the colouring.

    • Dan Toombs says

      Really? That’s terrible.

      I have a couple off the shelf brands I use from time to time but would much rather make it myself. :)

  4. Fred Toombs says

    I live in Mexico but haven’t found an Indian store that sells spices, do you know of one???


    Fred Toombs

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