Tandoori Masala/Spice Mixture

June 27, 2021mayurisjikoni




Tandoori Masala/Spice Mixture is blend of various spices that is generally used as a marinade for food prepared in a tandoor (clay oven) or for grilling. The types of spices and proportions used makes it different from the other spice mixtures like the famous garam masala.

I always prepare a small batch of tandoori masala/spice mixture and keep it handy in an airtight jar. Though I don’t fire up the grill outdoors, my grill in my kitchen is often busy. I love to marinate cauliflower, mushrooms or paneer in yogurt with tandoori masala and then grilling it.

How To Use Tandoori Masala

Use it for tandoori chicken, fish, any other meat or even vegetables, paneer and tofu. Automatically, any dish marinated in tandoori masala acquires not only a unique flavour but aroma too. Add the spice mixture to yogurt, marinate the meat, fish or vegetables. You can use bite size pieces or whole. Bite size pieces of meat, veggies, paneer are usually threaded on the skewers before roasting over the grill or in a pit.

Try out Tandoori Cauliflower/ Gobi

Paneer Tikka and Naan Bites is another delicious dish that can be served as a starter at a BBQ party

Are BBQ popular in Kenya?

With summer here and allowance to meet up with small groups outdoors, grills, barbecue pits, are being lit or the plan to do so are in progress. Here in Kenya, we call it Nyama Choma, which is the Kiswahili word for burnt meat. As we are blessed with good weather all year round, weekends many opt to have Nyama Choma parties. For vegetarians a separate grill is set up so that we can make paneer, mushroom or cauliflower tikka. The whole BBQ scene is a little different from the west, we have chapattis, (flatbread), biryani and kachumbari. For vegetarians there may be a curry or two added. Kachumbari is the simplest salad ever, just mix chopped tomatoes, onions with salt, a bit of red chilli powder and lemon juice. To make it look a bit fancy add chopped fresh coriander.

As I am writing this post, a thought crossed my mind, I should have shared the kachumbari recipe. Oh well, perhaps some other time.

Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday is a group of Food Bloggers. Every Sunday we  share some fun, traditional, hearty or easy recipes to make Sunday Family Meals a bit more exciting. To join this fun group, visit the Sunday Funday Facebook Page. Request to join in.


This week’s theme on Sunday Funday is Summer Grilling. Stacy who blogs at Food Lust People Love, suggested that we share recipes for summer grilling: both veggies and meat cooked outdoors over a campfire or in a barbecue pit AND/OR rubs, marinades, spice mixes and sauces for same.

I opted for spice mixes which is popularly used in the Indian Cuisine for most Tandoori Dishes. At this juncture let me explain that a tandoori recipe can be dry as the marinade gets cooked with the food item or it can be with a curry. When you read the word tandoori on the menu as a main dish, usually the meat, fish, vegetable or paneer is cooked in a tandoor or grilled and then added to the curry base.

Here are some recipes for Summer Grilling:


A Bit More About The Tandoori Masala/Spice Mixture

Tandoori Masala was a long pending recipe that needed to be shared and the opportunity arose with this theme. When you use ready made tandoori masala/spice mixture, the food or marinate may appear red in colour. Chances are that red food colour is added to it. So best to make the spice powder at home. To get that slight orangish reddish colour we tend to add more of Kashmiri Chilli Powder which imparts a natural red colour without much heat. Some people add beetroot powder. I haven’t as I didn’t have any.

Homemade Spices are not only fresh but aromatic too. Ready made spices usually have more of a cheaper spice e.g. coriander than other spices. When you make spices at home, you are able to use less or more of your favorite spice. For example, I love to add a bit more of cardamom and mace.

All these spices are easily available at a Spice store or any Indian/ Bangladeshi store.

Spice Mixtures/ Spice Powders you may want to check out:


Ingredients Required For Tandoori Masala/Spice Mixture

  • Whole Dried Red Chillis – I have used ones that are medium hot and also Kashmiri Chillis.
  • Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar.
  • Kasuri Methi – kasuri methi is dried fenugreek leaves. This ingredient is easily available at any Indian store. Adding kasuri methi is what sets this spice mixture apart from the garam masala.
  • Ginger Powder – sont, soot
  • Cinnamon Stick – dalchini, taj
  • Cloves – Lang, laving
  • Mace – javantri
  • Cumin Seeds – jeera, jiru
  • Amchur Powder – dry mango powder, another ingredient that is easily available in Indian Stores
  • Fennel Seeds – valiyari, saunf
  • Coriander Seeds – dhana
  • Nutmeg Powder – jaiphal
  • Black Pepper – mari, kali mirch
  • Cardamom – elachi,
  • Big Cardamom – different from the small variety and usually used for spice mixtures. Elcho, badi elachi.



Tandoori Masala/Spice Mixture is blend of various spices that is generally used as a marinade for food prepared in a tandoor (clay oven) or for grilling. Aromatic and so flavourful, homemade spices are the best.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course condiment, Spice Mixture
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1 CUP


  • 4 whole hot red chillis dried
  • 8 whole kashmiri red chillis dried
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp kasuri methi
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 4 inch cinnamon stick break into small pieces
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp mace
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 piece big cardamoms
  • 2 tsp cardamom


  • Heat a wide pan over low heat.
  • Add all the whole spices i.e. red chillis, cloves, mace, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, black peppercorn, cinnamon, big cardamom, small cardamoms. DON'T ADD KASURI METHI.
  • Roast the spices, mixing it all the time for at least 2-3 minutes or till you get the aroma of the spices.
  • Switch off the heat.
  • Add kasuri methi and all the powders i.e. turmeric, nutmeg, ginger, amchur powders. Mix well.
  • Transfer the mixture to a plate to allow the spices to cool down a bit. Don't leave it in the hot pan as the spices may get burnt.
  • Using a spice or coffee mill, grind the spices to a fine powder.
  • Store Tandoori Masala in an airtight jar.


  • If you make a big batch, best to keep it in the fridge in an airtight container. That way it stays fresh and aromatic for a longer time.
  • Add red chillis according to your taste.
  • Use tandoori masala instead of garam masala when making Indian curries.
  • If you don't have whole Kashmiri Red Chillis then use 1-2 tsp powder.
Keyword homemade tandoori spice mixture, tandoori masala homemade


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A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962





  • Stacy

    June 27, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    I love the rich red color of your spice mix, Mayuri, and also learning about the traditional of Nyama Choma – burnt meat! Around these parts, if I want a deeper red in my spice mix, I add annatto aka achiote since I don’t have Kashmiri chili peppers. I need to check in my Indian market next shopping trip to see if they carry them!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 27, 2021 at 9:27 pm

      Thank you Stacy and if you don’t get Kashmiri Chillis am sure you can use annatto. As I mentioned Kashmiri Chillis are not very hot.

  • Karen

    June 27, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Wow, that spice mix sounds amazing. By making it yourself, you know that it’s fresh and flavorful.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 28, 2021 at 1:34 pm

      Thank you Karen and that is so true.

  • Wendy Klik

    June 28, 2021 at 4:38 am

    I have everything I need for this spice mixture except for the kasuri methi. I’ll have to go on an amazon hunt.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 28, 2021 at 1:33 pm

      Yes, Wendy, you will need kasuri methi. Am sure you’ll be able to find it on Amazon. The remaining you can always add to Indian curries for flavour.

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