Guide to Essential Spice Mixes (Store-bought and Homemade) for Indian Cooking

August 3, 2023

Essential Spice Mixes for Indian Cooking: If you’ve ever been captivated by the tantalizing taste and enticing aroma of Indian cuisine, then this guide is your ultimate ticket to spice heaven. Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of popular Indian spice mixes, where you’ll uncover the secret to whipping up your favorite curry in just a matter of minutes.

A typical Spice Box (masala dabba) in Indian Households
A typical spice box (masala dabba) in Indian Households

Have you ever wished to unlock the authentic flavors of Indian cuisine without the fuss of grinding your own spices?

Well, look no further!

Store-bought masalas are here to sprinkle the magic of India directly into your kitchen.

In every Indian household, spice mixes are the treasured secret to creating mouthwatering dishes with ease. These pre-made spice blends are carefully crafted by seasoned experts like our mothers and grandmothers, capturing the essence of traditional recipes passed down through generations.

In the fast-paced world of today, where both men and women are juggling numerous responsibilities and striving to strike a harmonious work-life balance, time-saving solutions have become more critical than ever before.

Convenience meets culinary excellence when you opt for store-bought spice mixes instead of traditional homemade ones. Whether you crave the robust warmth of Garam Masala, the vibrant tang of Curry Masala, or the smoky allure of Tandoori Masala, you’ll find a variety of options ready to ignite your taste buds.

Say goodbye to the hassle of sourcing, measuring, and grinding an array of spices. With store-bought masalas, your cooking journey becomes a delightful breeze, leaving you with more time to enjoy the flavorsome results.

And the best part?

These masalas don’t compromise on quality or authenticity. Top-notch brands meticulously select premium spices to ensure you get the same rich flavors that define Indian gastronomy. Plus, with the convenience of finding them at your local Indian grocery store, specialty food shops, or online retailers, you can explore the vibrant world of Indian cuisine right from your own kitchen!

So, embrace the delightful simplicity of store-bought spice mixes and let the culinary adventure begin. Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned pro, these magical blends will elevate your dishes to new heights, tantalizing your senses and transporting you to the heart of India’s culinary legacy.

In the world of masala pre-mixes, numerous companies are vying to offer their finest products. Having explored this flavorful realm, I’ve carefully curated a list of exceptional contenders that have truly impressed me. Additionally, I’ve even jotted down the recipes of these mixes for those adventurous souls who prefer the homemade route. However, I completely understand the demands of a busy schedule, and if time constraints hold you back from making them at home, fret not! You can readily find these fantastic and essential spice mixes in stores, and I assure you, my selection will not disappoint.

Nevertheless, I am always open to discovering more remarkable brands that might have slipped under my radar. So, if you’ve stumbled upon other favorites that deserve a spot on this list, please do share your insights in the comments below. Together, let’s continue our exploration of the finest masala pre-mixes, because the joy of savoring exquisite flavors knows no bounds!

Lets get ready to savor the essence of India, one spice blend at a time!

GARAM MASALA: The most popular Spice Mix

Introducing the aromatic wonder that is Garam Masala – a spice blend that brings the heartwarming essence of India to your kitchen! Derived from “garam,” meaning warm/hot, and “masala,” representing spice. Together, they form the heart and soul of authentic Indian cooking.

The journey to creating Garam Masala starts with toasting whole spices, releasing their tantalizing aromas before being carefully ground into a fine powder. This fragrant blend of spices becomes a key player in countless Indian dishes, partnering harmoniously with other spices to create culinary masterpieces.

The art of layering spices is the secret behind the sensational taste of authentic Indian cuisine. Each family has its take on the Garam Masala recipe, resulting in numerous delightful variations passed down through generations.

Find our homemade Garam masala recipe here

When it comes to store-bought Garam Masala that stays true to the original taste, I have discovered Everest as the ultimate champion. Renowned as India’s No.1 spice brand, Everest boasts an impressive array of whole spices and blends. Among their stellar lineup, it’s their Garam Masala that has truly stolen my heart and taste buds.

Everest Garam Masala
Everest Garam Masala

As a devoted fan of Indian cuisine, Everest’s dedication to preserving the true taste of Garam Masala has won me over. Their exceptional blend stands out above the rest, capturing the soul of India in every jar.

Tandoori Masala

Unleash the flavors of India with Tandoori Masala, one of the treasured spice mixes that embodies the essence of traditional BBQ with an Indian twist. This delightful blend marries a symphony of herbs and spices such as coriander, cumin, garlic powder, ginger, cloves, mace, fenugreek, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, and nutmeg, creating a mesmerizing taste that elevates paneer, tofu, mushrooms, mutton, chicken, potatoes, and vegetables to culinary excellence. The subtle sweetness and earthiness of Tandoori Masala, combined with its signature smokiness, make it a truly exceptional concoction.

Prepared with a harmonious fusion of spices Tandoori Masala simplifies the art of marinating and grilling. I trust Shaan Tandoori masala when it comes to making dishes which need tandoori masala. With this pre-mixed blend, you can effortlessly transform any dish into a delectable tandoori masterpiece.

Shaan Tandoori Masala
Shaan Tandoori Masala

With Tandoori Masala, the possibilities are limitless. you can make tandoori chicken wings, paneer tikka, tandoori gobi to chicken tikka. You will experience the magic of this aromatic spice mix, as it transports you to the heart of Indian cuisine, adding an irresistible allure to every bite.

Try our Paneer Tikka recipe using Shaan Tandoori Masala. I guarantee you this is the best one out there.

Chai Masala

Ah, isn’t the memory of that delightful brown-colored masala chai tea you savored at the Indian restaurant still lingering?

And the secret behind its exquisite taste and aroma?

It’s all thanks to Chai Masala, a beloved staple in Indian households.

Like many cherished recipes, Chai Masala varies from one household to another, as well as across different regions. Speaking of which, let me share my grandmother’s cherished recipe right here.

However, we all know that life can get hectic, and sometimes we need a quick solution (no judgment here!). In those moments, I wholeheartedly recommend Everest Tea Masala. This remarkable blend possesses all the flavors and aromatic goodness needed to brew a delightful masala chai. So, whether you’re embracing tradition or opting for convenience, Everest Tea Masala has got you covered. Let’s keep the magic of masala chai alive, sip by sip!

Everest Tea masala
Everest Tea masala

Sambar Masala

For die-hard fans of South Indian cuisine, a must-have pantry essential is none other than Sambar Masala. This spice blend is a true gem, boasting complexity and versatility that guarantees culinary success once you have it in your hands.

Crafted with a harmonious combination of Red Chilies, Coriander Seeds, Bengal Gram Dal (Chana Dal), Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas), Urad Dal (Black Gram), Fenugreek Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Mustard Seeds, Black Peppercorns, Curry Leaves, and Turmeric Powder, Sambar Masala adds an authentic touch to your dishes.

Here is my authentic Sambar Masala Recipe which is guaranteed to impress you.

Don’t fret if homemade seems out of reach; I’ve got an excellent store-bought alternative for you—MTR Sambar Masala. With its remarkable resemblance to the original taste, you can savor the flavors of South India with ease and delight.

MTR Sambar Masala-Spice Mixes
MTR Sambar Masala

Chaat Masala

Chaat Masala is one of the zesty spice mixes popular in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It’s used in street-style Indian dishes like aloo tikki, dahi bhalle, and bhelpuri, as well as salads, fruits, lentils, vegetables, and curries.

The unique aroma comes from black rock salt. You can easily find it in Indian grocery stores or buy it on Amazon. Sprinkle Chaat Masala on your favorite dishes for an instant flavor boost!

Essential Spice Mixes: Everest Chaat Masala
Everest Chaat Masala

Goda Masala

Goda Masala is a traditional spice blend originating from the state of Maharashtra in India. It is a quintessential ingredient in Maharashtrian cuisine, adding a unique and robust flavor to various dishes. The word “goda” translates to “sweet” in Marathi, indicating the subtle sweetness that sets this masala apart.

This aromatic spice mix is made with a combination of carefully roasted and ground spices, including coriander seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, stone flower (dagad phool), dried coconut, and other unique ingredients. The blend strikes a perfect balance between sweet, spicy, and earthy notes, creating a harmonious flavor profile that enhances the taste of dishes like Maharashtrian-style vegetable curries, lentil gravies, and rice preparations.

Goda Masala showcases the rich culinary heritage of Maharashtra and has become a cherished element in households across the region. It’s readily available in Indian grocery stores, or you can prepare it at home to experience the authentic taste of Maharashtrian cuisine.

Here is our authentic step by step recipe which I learnt from my mother-in-law passed down from generations.

With Goda Masala, you can elevate your cooking and embark on a flavorsome journey through the vibrant culinary traditions of Maharashtra.

You can easily find this Masala at your local store. My top pick is this brand that specializes in Maharashtrian spices, catering to your culinary needs with authentic flavors.

Goda Masala-essential Spice Mixes
Goda Masala

Kitchen King Masala

When it comes to making delicious Paneer dishes, my ultimate go-to spice mix is Everest Kitchen King Masala. Whether it’s Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Tikka Masala, Mutter Paneer, or a simple Paneer Masala, Kitchen King is the undisputed champion.

Essential Spice Mixes: Everest Kitchen King masala
Everest Kitchen King masala

Its perfect pairing with paneer dishes makes it the true King of masalas in my kitchen. While it can be used for other curries too, I’ve found its magic truly shines when creating flavorful paneer delicacies.

Kolhapuri Kanda Lasun Masala

Kolhapuri Kanda Lasun Masala is a vibrant and bold spice blend originating from the culinary heartland of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

Kanda meaning Onion and Lasun meaning Garlic, it literally translates to Onion Garlic Spice mix.

Known for its fiery and aromatic profile, this masala is a cherished addition to a wide range of dishes, lending them an unmistakable punch of flavors. With a harmonious combination of onions, garlic, dried red chilies, and various spices, Kolhapuri Kanda Lasun Masala adds a delightful depth to curries, vegetables, snacks, and even non-vegetarian preparations.

Essential Spice Mix: Kanda Lasun Masala
Essential Spice Mix: Kanda Lasun Masala

Whether you’re a spice enthusiast or simply seeking to elevate your taste buds, this authentic masala is a must-have in your pantry for an exhilarating taste experience that captures the essence of Kolhapuri cuisine.

Panch Phoran(5 Spice Blend)

Panch Phoran, also known as “five-spice blend,” is a traditional spice mix originating from the Indian subcontinent, particularly popular in Bengali and Northeastern Indian cuisines.

As the name suggests, it consists of five whole spices – fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and fennel seeds – each contributing its unique flavor to create a harmonious and aromatic blend.

Essential Spice Mix- Panch Phoron
Essential Spice Mix- Panch Phoron


Panch Phoran is traditionally used for tempering and infusing oils at the beginning of cooking, releasing its rich, earthy, and slightly bitter notes, which add depth and complexity to a wide array of dishes, including dals, vegetables, pickles, and seafood preparations. With its simplicity and versatility, Panch Phoran has earned a special place in Indian kitchens, making it a must-try spice mix for culinary enthusiasts and those seeking to explore the authentic flavors of Indian cuisine.











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