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Tandoori Masala Paste

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Tandoori Masala Paste is great to have on hand.

You can of course purchase tandoori masala paste and some brands are actually quite good. That said, no shop bought tandoori masala paste will compare to what you can make at home. Using freshly roasted and ground tandoori masala before preparing this paste makes all the difference.

Below you will see how to prepare it and how tandoori masala paste can be used. It’s not just an awesome marinade for meat, poultry, fish, veggies and paneer!

Tandoori Paste

This tandoori paste can be used in so many ways.

What is tandoori masala paste?

This is exactly like what you find in jars at the shop but so much better. Tandoori masala paste is really just a paste prepared with tandoori masala powder but with water and oil added to make it a paste.

The oil helps preserve the spices and also makes it easier to get cooking. This of tandoori masala paste as a really convenient version of tandoori masala powder and use it in the same way.

How do you use this tandoori paste?

There are many ways you can use tandoori masala paste in your cooking. 

The most obvious is as a marinade. If you are following a recipe for tandoori marinade, you could just add it as per the recipe. It is really easy to use it without a recipe though.

Recipes are really just suggestions, after all. So get yourself some yoghurt and stir in some of this paste to taste. When it tastes the way you like it, you’ve got yourself the perfect marinade.

You can also add this paste whenever tandoori masala powder is called for in a recipe or add it at the end of cooking. Next time you prepare your favourite curry, add a tablespoon of this tandoori paste at the end of cooking and it will taste even better!

Why should you prepare this paste?

The oil helps preserve the spices. When you roast and grind your own spices to make tandoori powder or another spice blend, they have a rather limited shelf life.

This is just one of the reasons I highly recommend preparing your own spice blends. Whole spices will keep a very long time. Once they are ground, however, they begin to lose flavour. Making tandoori masala paste, your ground spices will keep flavour and taste better longer. 

How long does tandoori masala paste last?

For best results, keep your tandoori masala in a cool, dry location in an air tight container. Your paste should last for at least 3 months with little loss of flavour.

The same holds true for tandoori masala powder but when stored as a paste, you will notice a more intense and delicious flavour longer than storing as a powder. 

Making your ground spice masalas such as tandoori masala and Kashmiri masala into a paste is an excellent way of preserving them. Masala pastes retain their flavour much longer.

Do you have to prepare homemade tandoori masala powder for this recipe?

For best results, yes! That is the whole idea of it. You could give shop bought tandoori masala powder a longer life, however is you make it into a paste.

Can you freeze tandoori masala paste?

Yes. It freezes well but from my taste tests, freezing adds no flavour benefit. You still want to use it within three months. 

Do you have to use yoghurt to make a marinade with this tandoori masala paste?

Absolutely not! In fact I often don’t use yoghurt in my tandoori marinades. Yoghurt adds a little flavour but it is really there to help tenderise meats and poultry. 

It also thins the paste so that it is easier to spread across whatever it is you are marinating. Yogurt also protects ensure the spices don’t burn when cooked over high heat. If you don’t eat dairy or simply don’t have any yoghurt in, you can leave it out. Just be sure to watch whatever it is you’re cooking carefully to avoid burning those spices.

Why should you add tamarind concentrate?

This ingredient is optional. I only add it when I have some in the cupboard. Tamarind offers a tart, sour flavour and we all know that good tandoori food is a bit tart in flavour.

You will achieve a nice tart flavour from the amchoor powder used. If you don’t have tamarind concentrate in, you can also add a delicious sour flavour by adding a little lime or lemon juice to taste. 

What else can you add to this tandoori masala paste to make a good marinade?

One of the ideas behind this recipe is to have a lot of different flavours in one simple paste. You really can just stir it into some yoghurt and you’ve got yourself an amazing marinade.

There’s nothing stopping you from adding other ingredients to your marinade though. Stir in some garlic and ginger paste, finely chopped chillies, freshly chopped coriander (cilantro)… If it sound good, it probably will be. 

Do you have to add the oil?

Nope. The oil is what helps preserve the tandoori masala paste. If you are making a batch of tandoori masala paste and using it within a couple days, you can leave the oil out. I rarely do though.

Why isn’t there any salt in tandoori masala paste?

If you purchase a paste at the shop, there is a good chance there will be a lot of salt in it. Salt tastes good. We all want to season our food with salt!

In my recipe I don’t add salt. I want the spices to do the talking. Salt is best added to taste when you prepare a marinade or when you add the paste to a curry. Seasoning is important and salt plays a big part but you will like having a little more control over how much salt is in your end dish.

Can you upscale and downscale this recipe.

Yes. This recipe will make about 10 tbsp of paste. Just use your maths

Step by step photographs.

Adding water to tandoori masala powder in a pan.

Add the tandoori masala powder to a pan and add the water over a medium high heat.

Adding the oil and stirring it into the water and tandoori masala powder.

Add the oil and stir well to combine.

Finished tandoori masala paste

Stir continuously until the mixture begins to bubble a bit and is completely combined. Be careful not to burn the spices! Take off the heat and store in an air-tight container until ready to use.


Yield: a lot

How To Make Tandoori Masala Paste

How To Make Tandoori Masala Paste
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 2 minutes



  1. Slowly pour about 80ml (1/3 cup) water into the tandoori masala powder to form a thick paste. Add a little more water if needed.
  2. Heat the paste over medium high heat and add 80ml (1/3 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil while stirring continuously. Allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds to ensure it is all nicely combined.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the tamarind paste, if using.
  4. Store in a very clean preserving jar in the fridge or cool cupboard and use as needed.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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Monday 1st of February 2016

Hello, I would really like to try this recipe, so I can make the whole tandoori chicken. Can the paste be stored in the freezer? where possible I always like to make larger batches and freeze for easy future use. Thanks!

Dan Toombs

Friday 12th of February 2016

Hi Karen

You could store it in the freezer. I store mine in a cupboard in an air-tight jar.

Thanks Dan


Friday 13th of November 2015

When you say "one batch of tandoori masala" how much domyou mean? I am using a premmade packet. P.s every recipe I have tried has been amazing. Going for the tandoori roast chicken this weekend :)


Sunday 20th of December 2015

Hi James You can click and open , batch which is above the first picture , this will take you to the batch recipe.

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