Recipes for tandoori masala and chaat masala

10.45, Tuesday 7 May 2019

It’s been sunny which means it’s BBQ season which means I need my chicken tikka fix which means it’s spice mix time.

Here are some pictures on my Instagram.

Garam masala

I posted the garam masala recipe I use back in 2014 and I still use the same one. It’s a great spice base, lots of texture, and I like the balance–it’s not too peppery (which I find shop-bought ones can be).

(This isn’t required for tikka but included here for completeness.)

Tandoori masala

I’ve adapted my tandoori masala blend from this chicken tandoori recipe on NDTV Food. I like it to have a BBQ taste to it, and that’s done by going heavy on the cinnamon, fenugreek, and onions. I only recently discovered that British Indian curry houses absolutely load their dishes with dried fenugreek, and for better or worse I find the distinctive flavour really more-ish.

I feel like there should be paprika but I’m on the fence about the sweetness it would add. I’m still iterating this mix so maybe I’ll include some next time.

There’s no chilli. I add that separately.

The recipe:

  • Cinnamon, about 6 heaped tbsp when broken up
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 15 green cardamom
  • 10 brown cardamom
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 10 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground mace
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp onion seeds

Prep: Toast (keep moving around in a hot, dry pan) until the aromas come out but careful not to burn. Leave in a dish to cool. Use a coffee grinder to grind though not the one you use for actual coffee.

Chaat masala

Chaat masala gives the tikka its distinctive tang, and that come mainly from amchoor. I’ve previously just bought chaat masala but substituted it pretty regularly (when I’ve run out) with amchoor or just citric acid.

So this summer I figured I would make my own blend and I’ve based it on this recipe:

  • 3 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp saunf (fennel seeds)
  • 4 tablespoons amchoor (dried mango powder)
  • 3 tbsp black salt (I used 2 black salt, for smokiness, and 1 celery salt for tang)
  • 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp hing/asafetida powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp dried, powdered mint (I didn’t have any of this on hand so skipped it, but will use next time)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ajwain (I use dried aniseed)

Prep as above.

Tikka marinade

I use these two blends to make chicken tikka. The marinade I use is from that NDTV Food recipe above but I’ll repeat it here for reference:

  • 3 or 4 tsp red chilli paste
  • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 2 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)

Add the marinade to cubed chicken thighs, paneer, or shrimp. Mix well and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Cook as kebabs under the grill or on the BBQ.