Masala is a spice mixture typical of Indian and Pakistani cuisines. The word masala literally means mixture. There are several types of masala, such as garam masala, a spice mixture consisting of a dozen or so different toasted spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, ginger, coriander seeds, chili, pepper, nutmeg, etc. It is not as strong as tandoori masala, which comprises mild and hot chile, garlic, coriander seeds, cumin, caraway, rosemary, thyme, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
The composition of masala, an Indian spice mix, varies according to brand, spice merchants, and individual Indian families. More or less the same spices are used, and only their proportion varies. Tandoori masala is hotter than garam masala. Spices should not be bought if they have been left out in the open. They become stale and lose a great deal of their aromas.
Mixed with yogurt and lemon juice, tandoori masala is traditionally used to marinate chicken before cooking. Tandoori masala enhances many Indian-inspired dishes. Garam masala, also known as massalé on the island of Reunion, is used to flavor strongly flavored meats, such as mutton, game, and kid goat.
If stored in an airtight jar, masala keeps for several months in a cool and dry place. The aromas of the spices lessen in strength over time, so they should be bought and stored in small amounts.