7 Different Types of Masala – How to make and use! (2023)

Masalas can make or break a dish. A Masala is a store house of flavors that it releases during cooking. Many different types of Masala are used in Indian cooking.

Masala recipes are passed on from generations like family heirloom.

While most of these Masalas can be store bought pre made, the flavors are much better if they are made at home.

There are lot of myths and questions about Masala like Does masala expire? How to store it? All those have been answered here.

The types of masala used vary with the region and they can be classified broadly into North Indian and South Indian masala.

The 7 types of Masala listed in the blog post are from both North Indian and South Indian cuisine.

Table of Contents

  • Garam Masala – Recipe and How to use
    • Garam Masala Recipe
    • How to use Garam Masala
  • Chaat Masala – Recipe and How to use
    • Chaat Masala Recipe
    • How to use Chaat Masala
  • Tandoori Masala – Recipe and How to use
    • Tandoori Masala Recipe
    • How to use Tandoori Masala
  • Sambar Masala (Sambar Powder)- Recipe and How to use
    • Sambar Masala Recipe
      • Ingredients
    • How to use Sambar Masala
  • Rasam Masala or Powder – Recipe and How to use
    • Rasam Masala Recipe
    • How to use Rasam Masala
  • Parrapu Podi – Recipe and How to use
    • Parappu Podi Recipe
    • How to use Parappu Podi
  • Gunpowder – Recipe and How to use
    • Gunpowder Recipe
    • How to use Gunpowder
  • Related Posts

Here is a list of 7 different types of Indian Masala:-

Garam Masala – Recipe and How to use

Garam Masala is relatively mild but but has intense spicy taste. The spices are usually roasted to bring out the flavor and aroma. The ground spices can be mixed with water to form a paste.

Garam Masala can be used ground as well as made up of whole spices.

Garam Masala is the most commonly used North Indian Masala among the different types of Indian Masala listed in this post.

7 Different Types of Masala – How to make and use! (1)

Garam Masala Recipe

Every Indian Household has its own recipe of garam masala. Here is what I use, you can vary the quantity of any spice according to your taste.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Coriander Seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 dried Bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. Black Peppercorns
  • 2 tsp brown Cardamom Seeds
  • 1 3 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 tsp Whole Cloves

Directions:

  1. In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, separately roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaf, peppercorn and cardamom. Turn the seeds frequently so they don’t burn
  2. Roast until they are lightly brown and fragrant
  3. Put all the roasted spices and cinnamon, nutmeg into a spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder
  4. Sieve to remove any fibers
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes about 1/2 cup

How to use Garam Masala

The spices used in Garam Masala are sweet rather than bitter and thus do not need to be cooked.

It can be sprinkled into stews, soups, rice, vegetables etc. just before serving.

Chaat Masala – Recipe and How to use

The Chaat Masala gets its key flavor from Amchur i.e. dried unripe mango and black salt which is a pungent salt variety popular in India.

It can be used on anything that calls for a sharp, tart flavor.

Chaat Masala Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Black Peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp. Amchur
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Asafetida
  • 1 tbsp. Kala Namak (Himalayan Black Salt) – Substitute with regular salt if not found
  • 1 tsp Salt

Directions:

  1. Dry roast all the whole spices in a frying pan on medium heat.
  2. Roast until they become fragrant, move quickly to avoid any burning
  3. Leave them to cool for some time.
  4. Mix well with other ingredients and grind into a powder.

How to use Chaat Masala

It is used after the cooking has been completed and right before serving the food.

Chaat Masala is used as a table condiment, it is sprinkled over food to provide extra spicy, salty dimension.

Usually it is sprinkled over fried pastries and potatoes, it can also be sprinkled over meats, vegetable and fruits.

Tandoori Masala – Recipe and How to use

This masala drives its name from Indian clay oven called Tandoor. Tandoori Masala is used to give smoked flavor to dishes cooked in the wok. It has a distinctive aroma, very fragrant and spicy. It tastes hot salty and sour with dominant flavors of cumin and coriander.

Tandoori Masala Recipe

Tandoori Masala is very popular with non vegetarian Indians as meat, chicken, fish is marinated in it. Then they are threaded into skewers and cooked into the clay pot oven i.e. Tandoor.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt

Directions:

  1. Roast all the whole spices until they smoke
  2. Cool and grind with other powder spices and salt.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

How to use Tandoori Masala

Tandoori Masala is used in marinades. Meat is marinated in a mixture of Tandoori Masala and yoghurt before being baked.

It can also be added to mayonnaise to make a smoky dip.

7 Different Types of Masala – How to make and use! (2)

Sambar Masala (Sambar Powder)- Recipe and How to use

Sambar Masala is used to prepare sambar, a South Indian vegetable stew. As I am married to a South Indian, Sambar Masala is a staple in our house and is made at least 2 times a week.

Sambar Masala is the most commonly used South Indian spice mix out of all the different types of Indian Masala.

Sambar Masala Recipe

When I got married, my mother in law taught me how to make Sambar Masala. Its a recipe that has stayed in family for years.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Chana Dal or Split Chickpeas
  • 1 dried Red Chilli
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard

Directions:

  1. In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, roast coriander seeds, Chana dal, Red chili, Fenugreek seeds, Mustard. Turn the seeds frequently so they don’t burn
  2. Roast until they are lightly brown and fragrant
  3. Put all the roasted spices into a spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

How to use Sambar Masala

The Sambar Masala is added to the boiled lentils and mixed well so that no caking occurs.

Then, the lentil is cooked on gas for 15 mins along with some veggies and tamarind to make Sambar.

Rasam Masala or Powder – Recipe and How to use

Rasam is a South Indian stew that is prepared by adding tomatoes and some veggies to very runny lentils.

A South Indian meal is usually 3 course. The first course is Sambar with rice, followed by Rasam with rice and then Yogurt rice.

7 Different Types of Masala – How to make and use! (3)

Rasam Masala Recipe

This is another gem that my mother in law taught me. I personally like Rasam more than Sambar.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Coriander Seeds
  • 2 dried Red Chilli
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, roast coriander seeds, red chili, cumin and black pepper. Turn the seeds frequently so they don’t burn.
  2. Roast until they are lightly brown and fragrant
  3. Put all the roasted spices into a spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

How to use Rasam Masala

The Rasam Masala is added to the watery lentil soups and mixed well so that no caking occurs.

Then, the lentil soup is cooked on gas for around 15 mins along with tomatoes.

Some people add tamarind to their Rasam and some don’t. Its personal choice of flavors and if one likes tartness.

7 Different Types of Masala – How to make and use! (4)

Parrapu Podi – Recipe and How to use

‘Podi’ means Masala in Tamil. Parrapu Podi means ‘Lentils Powder’ which is commonly used in South India as a rice accompaniment.

Its a quick and easy go to for busy weekdays. All we need is rice and Parrapu Podi.

Parappu Podi Recipe

We prepare and store Parrapu Podi for lazy or busy days. The powder is mixed with rice with some oil and gives it a delicious flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Arhar Dal or Yellow split Pigeon Peas
  • 1 cup Chana Dal or Spilt Chickpeas
  • 7-8 Dried Red Chili
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

Directions:

  1. Roast all the ingredietns until they are lightly brown and fragrant
  2. Add salt to the mix as per taste
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

How to use Parappu Podi

Boil plain rice and then to 1 cup rice you can add 4 tbsp. of Parappu powder. You can use more Parappu Powder for more flavor.

Also, add little bit of oil i.e. 2 tbsp so that everything mixes well together.

The oil and parappu podi powder will form a coating on the rice, giving it a delicious flavor.

Gunpowder – Recipe and How to use

This Masala is used in South Indian cuisine as a condiment over rice dishes, dosa (lentil and rice pancakes) and idli (steamed rice cakes).

Gunpowder is an interesting name given to this spice combination which is a mix of lentils, chili, sesame seeds and jaggery.

Gunpowder Recipe

This one is another staple in our house that the kids love to have with their idli and dosa.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Urad Dal
  • 1/2 cup Chana Dal or Split Chickpeas
  • 10 Dried Red Chilli
  • 2 tbsp. White Seasme Seeds
  • 1 tsp Jaggery

Directions:

  1. Roast all the whole spices separately
  2. Add jaggery and salt later when grinding the whole spices.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

How to use Gunpowder

When mixed in some oil, it is used as a dip. It can also be used as a condiment for dosa (lentil and rice pancakes) and idli (steamed rice cakes).

It can also be sprinkled on any dish to instantly elevate the flavor of the dish.

So what did you think of this list of different types of Masala? Are there any favorites here or any favorites that I am missing?

Related Posts

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INDIAN SPICES THAT GO WELL TOGETHER – NEVER FAIL COMBINATIONS!

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