Tikka Masala or Tandoori Masala? Are you wondering if I mixed up the titles? Don’t worry. I am about to explain it all.
Chicken Tikka Masala is pretty popular, especially in Britain. Some say it is the number 1 British restaurant dish. The Masala in Chicken Tikka Masala refers to the sauce or the gravy as we call it in India. So it is Chicken Tikka pieces simmered in the tikka masala sauce.
Masala is the general term for spice – it can be a single spice like cloves or peppercorns, or a spice mix like the one I am going to talk about.
First, let us take the ‘chicken’ out of this word because you know there ain’t gonna be any chicks here. ‘Tikka’ refers to cubes or pieces and could be Tofu Tikka or Paneer Tikka.
Tandoori refers to anything cooked in a Tandoor, which is a clay oven commonly used in the northern parts of India like in Punjab. I can’t mention the word ‘tandoori’ without mentioning ‘Tandoori Chicken’, one of the most popular restaurant dishes in India. That is like the Indian version of BBQ, and is a must try. Using Tandoori Spice Mix with Paneer or Tofu gives you Tandoori Paneer or Tandoori Tofu, also known as Paneer Tikka ( because it is made with paneer chunks).
Tandoori dishes have become so popular that they very often refer to the spice mix or seasoning used rather than the actual traditional clay oven.
This Tikka Masala or Tandoori Masala is a spice mix or spice blend that you can use to marinate stuff, or also use as a spice in curries or sauces (more on that later).
So I hope I have cleared the air a bit? Tikka Masala or Tandoori Masala – a spice blend that can be used to season tofu, paneer, veggies or anything that is typically grilled (in an oven, clay oven, grill pan, whatever).
Now something about the recipe itself.
One of the most coveted aspect of Tandoori dishes is the red color. Restaurants of course use red food color. But this Tikka Masala Spice Mix will give you that same fiery red without any additives or preservatives.
Don’t be surprised at how simple this spice blend is. As you know, I truly believe Less is More with Indian Cooking. These few ingredients are enough to give the characteristic Tandoori Masala flavor to your food. I am using readymade spice powders to make this tikka masala mix. These are readily available in most places and online retail stores like Amazon.
This kind of spice mix can also be made by going a few steps back and using whole chilies, and individual components of garam masala. But I don’t want to make this daunting.
The Kashmiri Red Chili Powder is mild and has a vibrant red color which naturally lends a reddish hue to the food. You can use sweet paprika instead, but depending on the heat level of the paprika, you might want to add a ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper.
Garam Masala is very strong and warm, so a ½ tsp is a LOT for this proportion. Ground coriander is lemony and earthy and balances the warm spices. The first four ingredients are really the main ones for this spice mix.
I hope this Tandoori Masala or Tikka Masala Spice Blend is interesting enough to entice you, and simple enough to encourage you to give it a shot.
How do you use this? This Spice Mix becomes a marinade when mixed with a few things like yogurt or vinegar and fresh ginger and garlic. I will be writing about the Tandoori Aloo or potatoes you see here in the photos in an upcoming post very soon.
Since I prefer to use fresh ginger garlic, I am not using powdered versions of them in the mix.
So this Tandoori Masala or Tikka Masala Spice Mix may not look like a lot in that tiny bottle, but it is very potent. Very potent indeed! You need only a little at a time and this recipe is so simple, you can mix up a fresh batch any time you want in a matter of minutes.
What about salt? Salt is another thing I do not prefer to add to my spice mixes. You can add in some per your taste if you prefer. That is the best part of making your own spice blends. You can customize these little things.
Use this Tikka Masala Spice Blend or Tandoori Masala for – seasoned grilled veggies, tofu, paneer, pineapple, fruit kababs, or actually anything.
It is Hot, Warm, Tangy and Lemony, and lip smackingly delicious.
Tikka Masala or Tandoori Masala Spice Mix – Indian BBQ Mix
- 2 Tbsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder or Sweet Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Dry Mango Powder or Amchur
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- ¼ tsp Chaat Masala or Black Salt
- Pinch of Ground Fenugreek Seeds (optional)
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional for super hot)
- Measure out and mix all ingredients in a dry bowl.
- Transfer to dry air tight jar or bottle.
- Note: This makes about ¼ cup of Tandoori Spice Mix. Double or triple for more.
So are you ready to try out my Tikka Masala Seasoning Mix? The best way to try this out is using it on grilled veggies or on tofu. This is perfect for Holi since you can just marinate a big load of stuff, and grill it when you are ready to eat. What are you going to use this spice mix for?