Tandoori Paste Uses

Are you a fan of Indian cuisine? If so, you've probably heard of tandoori paste, a versatile and flavorful blend of spices that adds a burst of flavor to various dishes. This aromatic paste is a staple in many Indian households and restaurants, and its uses extend far beyond the traditional tandoori chicken.

Tandoori Paste Uses

Tandoori paste, also known as tandoori masala or tandoori marinade, is a vibrant red paste that gets its distinct color and flavor from a combination of spices. The main ingredients typically include cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, and garam masala. Some recipes also include ingredients like tomato puree, yogurt, and lemon juice.

Tandoori Chicken: The Classic Dish

When you think of tandoori paste, the first dish that comes to mind is likely tandoori chicken. This iconic Indian dish involves marinating chicken pieces (usually legs, thighs, and breasts) in a mixture of tandoori paste and yogurt. The marinated chicken is then traditionally cooked in a tandoor (a clay oven) at extremely high temperatures, resulting in a juicy and flavorful dish with a distinctive charred exterior.

If you don't have access to a tandoor, you can still recreate the magic of tandoori chicken at home using your oven, grill, or even an air fryer. The tandoori paste not only infuses the chicken with incredible flavors but also lends a beautiful reddish-orange color to the dish.

Beyond Chicken: Versatile Uses of Tandoori Paste

While tandoori chicken may be the most well-known application of tandoori paste, its uses extend far beyond this classic dish.

Here are some creative ways to incorporate tandoori paste into your cooking:

1. Vegetables

Roasted or grilled vegetables can be given a flavor boost by coating them in tandoori paste before cooking. Try it with cauliflower, potatoes, bell peppers, or even mushrooms. The paste will add a smoky and slightly spicy flavor to your veggies, making them a delicious side dish or a main course for vegetarians.

2. Seafood

Tandoori paste can also be used to marinate shrimp, fish fillets, or even scallops. The combination of tandoori flavors with the delicate taste of seafood creates a unique and tantalizing dish. Grill or bake the marinated seafood for a flavorful and healthy meal.

3. Meats

Beyond chicken, you can use tandoori paste to marinate lamb, beef, or pork. The paste's rich flavors complement these meats beautifully, resulting in succulent and aromatic dishes. Try tandoori-marinated kebabs or grilled tandoori steaks for a twist on traditional recipes.

4. Tofu and Paneer

For a vegetarian option, marinate tofu or paneer (Indian fresh cheese) in tandoori paste before grilling or baking. The paste will infuse the plant-based proteins with an incredible depth of flavor, making them a satisfying and flavorful addition to your meals.

5. Sauces and Dips

Tandoori paste can be used as a base for flavorful sauces, dips, and spreads. Mix it with yogurt or cream to create a tantalizing tandoori sauce for dipping or drizzling over dishes. You can also use it as a spread for sandwiches or wraps, adding an Indian twist to your favorite handheld meals.

DishCooking MethodSuggested Tandoori Paste Use
VegetablesRoasting, GrillingCoat before cooking
SeafoodGrilling, BakingMarinate before cooking
MeatsGrilling, RoastingMarinate before cooking
Tofu/PaneerGrilling, BakingMarinate before cooking
Sauces/DipsMixingUse as a base for sauces, dips, and spreads

Homemade Tandoori Paste

While you can find commercially prepared tandoori paste in many grocery stores, making your own at home is relatively simple and allows you to customize the flavors to your liking. Here's a basic recipe for homemade tandoori paste:


  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to your desired heat level)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer the paste to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. The paste will keep well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Key Takeaway: Making your own tandoori paste at home allows you to customize the flavors and ensure you're using fresh, high-quality ingredients.


What is the difference between tandoori paste and tikka masala?

While both tandoori paste and tikka masala are used in Indian cuisine, they have distinct differences. Tandoori paste is a spice blend used primarily for marinating and flavoring dishes, while tikka masala is a creamy, tomato-based sauce often served with grilled or tandoori-marinated proteins.

Can I use tandoori paste for dishes other than Indian cuisine?

Absolutely! Tandoori paste can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes, regardless of their culinary origin. Try incorporating it into marinades, sauces, or rubs for grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or even as a flavor boost for soups and stews.

Is tandoori paste spicy?

The level of spiciness in tandoori paste can vary depending on the recipe and the amount of chili powder or cayenne pepper used. Some recipes can be quite mild, while others can pack a considerable punch. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can adjust the amount of chili powder or use a milder variety of chili.

How long does tandoori paste last?

Homemade tandoori paste can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you've purchased a commercially prepared tandoori paste, check the expiration date on the package for guidance on its shelf life.


Tandoori paste is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can elevate your cooking to new heights.

From the classic tandoori chicken to creative vegetable dishes, seafood preparations, and flavorful sauces, the possibilities are endless.

With its aromatic blend of spices and the ability to infuse dishes with a vibrant color and smoky depth, tandoori paste is a must-have in any spice lover's pantry.

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