|March 17, 2023


Indian cuisine is a treasure trove of flavors, spices, and aromas. It has mesmerized the world for centuries. At the heart of this culinary tradition lies an array of masalas. Indian masalas are as diverse as they are aromatic. Every dish uses key ingredients to add a distinct flavor. 

Understanding the different masala types is crucial to explore Indian cuisine's vastness. Each dish has the perfect masala blend. Be it the buttery butter masala chicken indulgence or the zesty chana masala tang. 

Join the journey to uncover the rich history, significance, and Indian masala types.

Turmeric spice

Turmeric Masala

For centuries Turmeric spice was known for its bright yellow color. It has been a staple in Indian cuisine. Its earthy, bitter taste and vibrant color make it a versatile and essential spice in many dishes. You can make this spice by grinding Curcuma longa plant root into a fine powder.

Ayurvedic medicine finds turmeric for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. The spice gained popularity in the western world due to its health benefits. It is now used in cooking and as a dietary supplement. Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson uses turmeric in their curries, rice dishes, and soups.

Tandoori masala

Tandoori masala

Tandoori masala finds its origin in the Punjab region. It is named after the traditional clay oven called a tandoor. Tandoori masala is known for its vibrant red color. The blend includes cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, and paprika.

Red chili powder gives a red color to the masala. It was popular after tandoori, and butter chicken became a restaurant staple. Celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver use tandoori masala in their recipes. You can use the masala to marinate meats, fish, and vegetables.

Veg tikka masala 

Veg Tikka Masala

To enjoy Veg Tikka Masala, marinate vegetables and grill them. Or, you can simmer in a spiced tomato-based curry sauce. Everybody loves the dish due to its rich and creamy texture. The aromatic spices blend gives it a distinct flavor.

The vegetarian tikka masala includes cumin, coriander, turmeric, and Garam masala. Veg Tikka Masala is a versatile dish enjoyable with rice or naan bread. 

Pav bhaji masala

Pav bhaji masala

Pav Bhaji Masala is a unique spices combination. It is used in Indian cuisine for making the favorite street food dish, Pav Bhaji.The spice blend originated in 1850 as a lunchtime menu for Mumbai textile workers. Its popularity spread throughout India and the world.

It has coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, and cinnamon. Kashmiri red chili powder, black pepper, and more contribute to its blend. 

Curry masala

curry masala

Curry masala or masala curry is a spices blend used in Indian cuisine to add flavor and aroma to dishes. Its history dates back to the British colonial era. The British tried to replicate the spice blends used in Indian cuisine to suit their tastes.

Curry masala mixes cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. Chefs Madhur Jaffrey and Vikas Khanna have popularized curry masala in their recipes.

Biryani masala

Biryani Masala

Biryani masala is a spice blend enhancing the Indian rice dish, biryani. India's introduction to biryani dates back to the Mughal period. Over time, the masala evolved in different regions of India with its unique spin.

Biryani masala has cumin spice, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon. Bay leaves and red chili powder adds to their flavors.

Chole masala

Chhole masala

Chole masala, the lip-smacking dish from North India, has a fan following. Chole masala has a robust, spicy flavor and adds depth and complexity to the dish. It has coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and other spices.

Serve the Chana masala made with chole masala with rice, naan, or roti. It is a popular vegetarian option in Indian cuisine.

Rajma masala 

Rajma Masala

Rajma Masala napped in tomato-based vegetarian dishes in Indian cuisine. The Rajma Masala recipe has Garam masala powder, coriander, and Kashmiri chili powder. Punjab owns the origin of this dish.

The required spices are available in most Indian groceries and spices shops. It is an easy and delicious meal to prepare at home.

Egg masala

Egg Masala

Egg masala is an Indian dish with boiled eggs. This dish has a rich history in Indian cuisine and is common in North Indian and Bengali cooking. The recipe blends onions, tomatoes, and ginger. It blends the next Garam masala powder, the best turmeric powder, and other spices.

Egg masala is available at many Indian restaurants. It is also easy to prepare at home with Indian groceries and spices.

Sambar powder

Sambar masala

Sambar powder is a recipe from South India. It blends coriander seeds, cumin spice, and fenugreek seeds. It also has black peppercorns, dried red chilies, turmeric, and other spices. The history of sambar dates back to the Maratha ruler, Shivaji's chef.

Sambar powder is used in many dishes. It became popular in South India and is now a staple. Its primary use is to make sambar, a vegetable and lentil soup. You can lap it up with rice, idli, or dosa.

And there is also…

Chicken butter masala, a dish of North Indian origin. Cook tender chicken pieces simmered in a rich tomato-gravy sauce with aromatic spices. The spice in chicken butter masala is Garam masala, and common ground spices blend.

Anise spice, or star anise, gives a distinct flavor and aroma. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Tarla Dalal have popularized this dish. They have shared their unique variations. The addition of butter gives the dish a creamy texture and richness.

To Conclude

Understanding the different types of Indian masalas is essential to Indian cooking. Each has its unique flavor and history. The warmth and aromatic blend of Garam masala is different from the tangy and spicy chaat masala. Experimenting with other masalas can open up exciting and delicious culinary possibilities.


What are some traditional Indian dishes that use masala?  

Indian dishes use masala as a critical ingredient. It includes curries, biryanis, tandoori chicken, samosas, and chutneys.

Where can I get authentic Indian masala?

You can buy from an Indian store or log on to alcoeats.com and get your authentic Indian masalas. Alcoeats masalas are additives-free, GMO-free, color- free. 

Can I make my Indian masala at home? 

Yes, you can make your Indian masala at home by-

  • roasting the spices 
  • grinding whole spices 
  • blending them 

This process allows you to customize the flavors. Adjust the heat level to your preference.

What is the history of Indian masala? 

Masala has been used in Indian cooking for thousands of years. It dates back to ancient times when spices trading along the spice routes emerged. Indian masala blends vary by region. They reflect the cultural influences of different cuisines.

How can I use Indian masala in my cooking?

Masalas are for soups, stews, rice dishes, roasted vegetables, and marinades for meat and fish. Indian masala adds flavor and depth to any dish. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste, as some masalas can be spicy.

Related Products