Tandoori masala recipes differ from cook to cook, but many recipes contain cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and turmeric. Other recurring spices include ginger, garlic, fenugreek, cloves and salt.
Some tandoori masala recipes call for orange or red food coloring. Chefs suggest Kashmiri red chillies as a substitute for food coloring, as it contributes the deep red color that connotes tandoori masala without imparting too much heat. The chillies should be lightly toasted in a hot pan and then ground into a fine powder.
Chef Niru Gupta's recipe for tandoori masala does not call for ginger, cumin or coriander as individual ingredients. Rather, Gupta adds quantities of chaat masala and garam masala, which collectively contain various amounts of cumin, coriander, ginger and cardamom. She also adds fenugreek. Gupta instructs readers to grind the spices in a blender and transfer the tandoori masala to a jar for later use. She advises home cooks to sprinkle the tandoori masala on top of prepared tandoori dishes or to add it to a marinade.
Similarly, Preeti Tamilasaran, author and photographer of Indian Kitchen, gives the English and Indian names of ingredients in her recipe for tandoori masala. Tamilasaran recommends dry-roasting all but the nutmeg, turmeric and dry ginger; grinding the roasted concoction; letting it cool; and transferring it to an airtight container.