The Indian subcontinent is well known for its spices, and there are many different variations of masalas that are used to flavor dishes. The most common varieties of masalas will be discussed here:
1. Garam Masala
Garam means hot or warm, and garam masala is used in Indian cooking to provide heat. To make your garam masala, combine equal parts of cumin, coriander seed, cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon.
2. Vindaloo Powder
This type of masala is used in the popular dish vindaloo. Users can combine garlic powder with salt and chili powder for this variety of masala.
3. Madras Curry Powder
Madras curry powders are often used when preparing southern Indian cuisine. For an authentic preparation, users should use up to six different types of ground spices including fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.
4. Tandoori Masala:
This masala is used to flavor dishes cooked in a tandoor oven. It can be made by combining cumin seeds with garam masala.
5. Tikka Masala:
Also known as tikka masala or simply tikka, this masala can be prepared by mixing fenugreek leaves, ground coriander seed, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
6. Lump Curry Powder:
For those using lump charcoal on their barbeque grill for Indian cooking purposes, some varieties of curry are ideal. These include red curry powder made from cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic flakes, and sugar; green curry powder made from ground coriander, cumin seeds, turmeric, and garlic flakes; and yellow curry powder made from ginger, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
7. Garlic Masala:
Ingredients for this masala include garlic cloves (two parts), ginger (one part), and green chilies (one part). This masala is often used to prepare certain types of curries.
8. Dal Masala:
A spice blend that doesn’t contain any chili peppers or other highly pungent spices is ideal for those who wish to use it in their dal. Such a spice blend can be prepared by combining equal quantities of ground cumin seed, coriander seed, fenugreek, seeds, mustard seed, and fennel.
9. Panch Puran:
In order to prepare this masala users should combine equal quantities of fennel, cumin, black mustard seeds, kalonji (nigella) and fenugreek. This is a popular spice blend for preparing, side dishes in Bengali cuisine.
10. Rasam Powder:
This is a spicy powder often used for seasoning rasam and similar dishes. It can be prepared by combining chili powder and coriander powder with garlic and salt as secondary ingredients.
11. Sambar Masala:
Southerners typically use this spice blend when cooking sambar or other dal-based soups and stews. To create your own sambar masala, combine 2 parts coriander seed, 3 parts black or brown mustard seed, 2 parts dried curry leaf and 1 part fenugreek.
12. Amchoor Masala:
This type of spice blend is commonly used in Rajasthani cuisine. To prepare it, simply mix together powdered amchoor (green mango powder), cumin seeds, ground ginger, salt and red chili powder.
Indian cuisine is heavily reliant on masalas, or spice blends. Each region of India has their own set of masalas that they use in their cooking. This list features some of the most famous Indian masalas and what they are used for. If you’re looking to add a little bit of flavor (pun intended) to your Indian cooking, be sure to try out some of these spices!