Masala is a term you hear all of the time when discussing curry ingredients, but it is often misunderstood. It simply means a mix of spices so there are many different types of masala. We have made a list below of all those we could identify for you...

The Curry Culture Guide to Different Types of Masala

Masala (Massala) - An Introduction

So a masala is not a curry, it's an ingredient or in fact it's a mixture of spices. The word itself is often used in a description such as "Chicken Tikka Masala" or "Garam Masala" (a hot spice mixture) or Chaat Masala (another spice mixture made for side dishes such as Aloo Chaat). You can't really get anywhere with the word on it's own either because to simply ask for a Masala doesn't make sense. It's just like asking for a mixture but not saying what it's for.

It can be a dry powdery mix or a paste but eithe way it's going to have a range of different spices and ingredients depending on it's use.

Chaat Masala

This spice mix is (not suprisingly) used when preparing different types of Chaat. It often contains Amchoor which is dried mango powder so will be a little sweet. Typically it will be srpinkled over the chaat dish you are making and will give them a little bit of zing.

Also good with salads and dips - try it when you're next looking for a bit of inspiration.

Chana Masala

As with Tikka Masala, discussed below Chana Masala is a curry dish rather than a spice mix. It is a very popular vagatarian dish that features chickpeas, onions and tomatoes as its main ingredients.

For spices you typically have a mixture of whole spices like cardamom and ground spices like coriander and paprika.

Garam Masala

Perhaps the most famous of them all is Garam Masala or Hot Spice Mix - Garam meaning hot in Hindi. This general spice mix comes in many types, is commercially produced and is widely available. You can easily make it yourself at home if you have a spice grinder and every chef, restaurant or home cook is going to have their own recipe.

The basic building blocks of Grama Masala are cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, black peppercornd, cumin and coriander.

Masala Chai

If you're a fan of tea and like to try different styles then you've proably had a cup of Chai. So a Masala Chai is the spice mix thst is added to the black tea to give you the ingredients for your drink. It's going to have a few different spices in there, things like Cardamom, Cinammon, Star Anise, Pepper and others. There are an infinite number of varieties so try a few and see what you prefer.

Tikka Masala

This shouldn't be on this list because this is a curry that was created for UK diners. But for the sake of completeness I've added it. Head over the to Types of Curry page to see what's in a Tikka Masala...

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