Jeff & Linda's Kitchen of Diversity
Tandoori Masala Paste
This masala paste is dark red in color, and more savory than Balti Masala from its paprika, mango powder, mint, and extra garlic powder. While commercial Tandoori pastes achieve their florid red color from synthetic tartrazine compounds, we’re not going to use them here. Rather, we’ll make an almost identical color (although not quite as shockingly red) by the use of two natural food dyes, one orange (Annato powder) and the other red (Beetroot powder).
As earlier with the Balti Masala Paste, we’re going to roast and grind whole spices, and then mix them with vinegar and cook them in oil to make a paste that will keep for months when refrigerated. Makes 1½ pounds.
2 heaping tablespoons whole Coriander seed
5 teaspoons whole Cumin seed
5 teaspoons Garlic powder
5 teaspoons ground Paprika
4 teaspoons Amchur (green mango) powder
6 teaspoons dry Mint leaves
4 teaspoons Beetroot powder
1 tablespoon ground Cayenne (or other hot pepper)
2 teaspoons Anatto seed powder
2 teaspoon aromatic Salt
1 cup distilled Vinegar
1 cup Canola oil
Dry roast coriander and cumin seed; grind, and cool. Mix with remaining ingredients.
Make a paste with 1 cup vinegar. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Cook in 1 cup of hot oil in a large skillet as described above for Balti Masala Paste. Store in a clean 1 pint glass canning jar topped off with oil, and capped with a lid. Keep in the refrigerator.
Again, you can grow your own Coriander, Cumin, Paprika, and Mint. While much of the rest is available at a good grocery, some are very much specialty items for which you’ll need to search. Amchur powder is available at any Indian market, and can also be found online at various Indian food websites. Annato seed and beetroot powder may be the most difficult to find. We buy ours from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also substitute Achiote paste blocks (available in most Hispanic markets) for Annato Seed Powder. These are a compound of not only Annato but also other items like garlic powder that are also in the recipe. You’ll rub these into the dry spice mix with your fingers just like you would shortening into a pie crust pastry.