Tandoori masala is a mixture of spices for flavouring foods cooked in a tandoor or clay oven, often used in traditional north Indian and Afghani cooking.
It is usually made with powdered garlic, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cumin, coriander seeds, fenugreek, cinnamon, black pepper and cardamom. All these ingredients are finely powdered, sieved and packaged for sale. It can also be made at home and preserved in dry, airtight jars.
Commercially available tandoori masala is often bright red in colour due to added colouring, which also imparts a deep orange colour to the foods it is added to. When preparing at home, you can skip the colouring.
Tandoori masala is very aromatic and spicy. It has a hot, salty and sour taste, with the dominant flavours of cumin and coriander.
How to Select
• Tandoori masala is easily available in grocery stores, under various brand names and in varying package sizes.
• Choose a package size according to your requirement, and go for a reliable brand.
• Check the seal of the package, and dates of manufacturing and expiry, before buying.
• Tandoori masala, as the name suggests, is an essential ingredient in the preparation of tandoori dishes.
• It can be used in marinades or added to hot oil before the main ingredient or along with it.
• For marinating, it is usually mixed with curds. Succulent cubes of paneer, baby corn, capsicum and other veggies can be marinated in this mixture before grilling in a barbecue, or baking in an oven or tandoor.
• Dry roast a little tandoori masala over a slow flame and mix into mayonnaise for an unusual dip for serving with crisps or chips.
• The masala also goes well with mixed peppers and potatoes.
• You can try adding it to tomato and cream based curries too.
How to Store
• The masala can be stored in dry, airtight jars.
• It will keep for about six months.