Tandoori Indian spice blend

This recipe makes about 200g of tandoori spice blend, which is enough to cook about 40 portions. Traditionally an orange food colouring is added to give tandoori food its signature look, but it is not needed. You can use this seasoning to make tandoori chicken, tandoori paneer or even the popular chicken tikka masala. Tandoori spice blend can sometimes contain other ingredients such as turmeric or cinnamon, depending on the dishes it will be used for. 


  • Paprika (3 tbsp)
  • Ground coriander (3 tbsp)
  • Ground cumin (3 tbsp)
  • Ground ginger (2 tbsp)


Mix all spices in a bowl, then add to a spice jar and store in a cool dark place. 

Frequently asked questions

Is tandoori spice the same as garam masala? 

No. The spice blends are both Indian, but they are made from different spices. For example, garam masala is made from coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, brown cardamom, nutmeg, bay leaves and ginger. In comparison, tandoori spice is made from paprika, coriander, cumin and ginger. 

Why does my tandoori spice not taste right? 

Many factors could be negatively affecting the flavour. You will likely miss out on that real fire smoke flavour if you are cooking tandoori dishes and not cooking foods in a tandoori oven. A great way to get that flavour without fire is to opt for smoked paprika instead of regular or use smoked salt. The smoke flavour from the herbs will add that smokiness that your food is missing.

Where did tandoori spice originate? 

Kundan Lala Gujral invented the deep red spice in Peshawar, Pakistan, in the late 20th century. 

Why is homemade tandoori spice better than shop brought? 

A homemade spice blend made to a recipe will contain the right flavours to achieve perfect results when cooking specific dishes. Shop brought spice blends may have other ingredients used to bulk out the spices; it could even have additives added to it, such as silicon dioxide, which is used as an anti-caking agent to prevent spices from sticking together.

They may also have added sugar and salt that you cannot remove once added, and also, the spices may have been blended a long time ago, making the spices less fresh and flavourless. A fresh homemade blend will always taste better than store brought. 

What can be substituted for tandoori spice? 

Whilst we wouldn’t recommend substituting it for one ingredient, if you had to, you would be best swapping it out for paprika or a 50/50 combination of ground cumin and ground coriander. 


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