indian restaurant spice mix

This Indian restaurant spice mix is a blend of key Indian spices that gives restaurant curries that big blast of flavour. It’s one of the ways restaurants are able to crank out curries in no time.

This is about easy. Easy and fast. No measuring a ton of spices every time you make a curry. This is the baseline. The signature blend.

Bowl of Indian restaurant spice mix with spice dusted plate behind it from the front.

Indian restaurant spice mix is about speed

Indian homestyle cooking takes a lot of effort. Just look at the wonderful curry recipes all over the internet. Complicated. Many steps. They take a long time. They’re worth it. No doubt. But they’re real work.

Indian restaurants can’t do it the same way. You would be waiting for hours to eat. Restaurant curries take 10 minutes to cook. There’s a few tricks to make that happen. Indian restaurant spice mix is one of those tricks.

They all do it. First they figure out what base flavour profile is right for the restaurant. Then they figure out what’s common. The stuff in pretty much every recipe. That’s Indian restaurant spice mix.

They then use that spice mix as a starting point. And layer flavours on top to create their masterpieces. Pretty clever. 

Every restaurant has their own mix. This is the one used on this blog. And it’s used a lot. If you’re getting into Indian restaurant style cooking this mix is going to be your friend.

Spoons filled with turmeric, garam masala and Kashmiri chili powder.

There are other secrets in Indian restaurant style cooking

Curry base is the other big secret. That’s how restaurants get around cooking onions forever for each curry. It’s all pre-cooked and ready to go.

So is the meat. Simmering it in the curry briefly warms it up. Prep is key in all restaurants. Indian restaurants are no different.

If you are interested in learning about Indian restaurant style cooking this primer on Indian restaurant techniques is a great place to start. It goes through pretty much everything you need to know.

Took me years to figure all this out. You can learn it in half an hour if you take the time to read a bit.

Seven ingredients in one mix

This simple Indian restaurant spice mix can be used to make almost any Indian restaurant curry.

This particular Indian restaurant spice mix takes seven of the usual suspects and knocks it down to one. That’s seven ingredients you no longer have to measure out. Probably saves two or three minutes per curry. That adds up.

It’s actually more than seven. Using a pre-made curry powder and garam masala adds in some trace spices. I know. Cumin, coriander and turmeric figure highly in most curry powders. Sure. 

But there are  a few others mixed in. And those trace elements all add a little something. It builds complexity.

Pre-fab curry powders are all a bit different. So the end result depends on the curry powder you choose.

But this is cooking. This isn’t running a lab. A little variation is not the end of the world. Once you have a made a few curries try making up your own spice mix. Define your own style. 

Or if you want to make things exactly as I do whip up some of this homemade curry powder and garam masala. I reverse engineered the curry powder from one I like.

This is the spice mix used in all the Indian restaurant curries on this blog. It may seem crazy to you to mix up so much. But if you are going to get into restaurant style cooking you will use it up. So make lots. You’ll need it.

Indian restaurant spice mix in a bowl with a spoonful of spice from the top.
Bowl of Indian restaurant spice mix with spice dusted plate behind it from the front.
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4.63 from 54 votes

indian restaurant spice mix

This Indian restaurant spice mix is one of the key tricks restaurants use to make their curries.
Course spice mix
Cuisine Indian
Keyword curry powder, restaurant spice mix
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 320kcal
Author glebe kitchen


  • 4 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 4 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1-2 tsp kashmiri chili powder – I like a little extra zing
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp butcher’s grind black pepper – optional but nice if you cook mostly South Indian


  • Combine all ingredients and mix.
  • Store in a cool place along with all your other spices.


Mild curry powder can be any commercially available curry powder. I personally like Boltz for this recipe but there are many out there.
Chili powder is Indian chili powder. It comes in different heat levels, from mellow to blistering hot. You want mild for this recipe. Look for kashmiri mild chili powder at any Indian grocery store. The flavour is quite distinctive. In a pinch, you can use something like New Mexican Red chili powder.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 1866mg | Fiber: 29g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 11125IU | Vitamin C: 13.6mg | Calcium: 410mg | Iron: 31.2mg
Indian restaurant spice mix is the first step to restaurant curries at home!

80 thoughts on “indian restaurant spice mix”

    • Masala is a blend of spices but usually specific. Curry powder is a blend of spices as well. I guess you could could call it curry masala. But I’ve also seen masala refer to the mix of onions, spices and often tomatoes cooking together. So that might be the real curry masala. All very confusing:-)

  1. 5 stars
    I’m a bit confused about measurements, as this only serves 2 (lamb saag recipe), which means for 4 people, id be using 8 tablespoons each of tumeric and corriander, 6 of paprika etc. That just seems like a LOT of spices for 1 dish? All other recipes ive read, use less than a quarter of this amount?

    • This is a master recipe and it makes enough for many, many curries. The actual amounts needed are specified in the the recipes (typically two teaspoons or thereabouts) plus additional spices as called for.

  2. Would be very appreciative if you could add the weight in parenthesis next to the volume. It’s funny because your other spice recipes use weight, and you even lectured a commenter on how spices should always be measured in weight.

    • I use weights where I see a benefit to a higher level of precision (baking/cures/brines/reverse engineering commercial blends) but while I appreciate your dedication to precision I just don’t cook that way. I am pretty sure I never lectured anyone on how spices should always be measured by weight FWIW. Specific applications yes. Across the board. Not so much.

  3. 5 stars
    Hello Romain
    Could I use the Sri Lankan curry powder in the spice mix or would this change the outcome to much. The Sri Lankan curry powder in your Ceylon recipe gives amazing depth of flavor and colour. In fact having mentioned the Ceylon curry powder I shall now have to make the chicken Ceylon tonight it’s a fabulous recipe bursting with flavor. I am tempted to try some of the restaurant curry recipes but can’t get to it as the hotel recipes are amazing thanks a lot for all your recipes.
    Paul H
    Manchester UK

    • I’m loving the hotel style series a lot too!

      It is a pretty distinctive mix so I wouldn’t add a lot o the Sri Lankan powder to the basic spice mix. A couple of teaspoons maybe to add some flavour notes? Alternately you could just add a bit to the recipes you think would benefit (maybe deduct 1/2 tsp from the specified amount of mix powder and replace it with the Sri Lankan curry powder?

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I have made some of your curry recipes many times now, it had become a norm in our home now! But I would want to have the spices ready like this spice mix recipe for fast and easy cooking, so, would this then be the only mix I add to my future curries other than my curry base? Do I still need to add garam masala or any other spice to finish the cooking?

    • This spice mix is a blend that is used in recipes on glebekitchen to get some foundational spices into the dish quickly. Each recipe using spice mix will have other spices. If you only used it alone everything would taste the same and that would be no fun at all. See the Indian restaurant recipes to understand what I mean.

  5. Hi I love all of your recipes I’ve tried so far but I’m in France and cannot buy Kashmiri chilis. I adore your chicken vindaloo recipe, is there a substitute I can use for the Kashmiri chilis in the vindaloo paste? Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for saying!

      I don’t really know of another chili that I can guarantee would work. I did a little looking around and it sounds like your best bet would be dried paprika chilies plus a little cayenne pepper to bring back a touch of heat. Note I have never tried this so it is a guess at best.

    • Hi,
      unless buying online is not an option for you, why not buy your hard to get spices online? Amazon (other online stores are available!) has loads of options, and even if you end up paying delivery etc, the cost spread over the number of delicious meals you will prepare shouldn’t be too hard to swallow.

  6. Hi! So to make up mybspice mix I’ve ordered decent qties of cumin, coriander, tumeric and paprika powders, ths spices needed by the tbsp rather than tsp qty. Other items which require tsp amounts I already have which leaves the mild curry powder. Bit confused here because the mild curry powder already includes cumin, corriander, tumeric etc etc. Do I take it that you take into account the components of the curry powder mix when specifying the main base ingredient quantities?
    Silly question maybe but bear with me!!
    Regards Graham

    • The curry powder is in addition to the other ingredients. It is there to add a few trace spices.

  7. Just made my curry gravy and Indian spice mix. Tomorrow is the tester. I too have never been able to get a decent Indian curry to my table so am looking forward to trying my first madras tomorrow. I’ve watched your videos so I’m good to go. Thank you for all the tips. I’ve learned so much 👍👍

  8. Romain,

    As a desi, what Paprika are you suggesting my friend? Paprika is pretty alien to Indian cuisine unless you are referencing Kashmiri Chili, which in effect is a Paprika sort of substitute. Much milder than cayenne and often times dyed red to impart that color to curries. Most smoked paprikas (Spanish, Hungarian) would be overwhelming no? By the way, you’re a wizard and I want test this out against the way I conventionally make my curries. Can you address what Paprika please? Thank you.

    • Smoked paprika is definitely not right. I use a fair bit of Kashmiri chili powder in my cooking but this is a milder version. It’s just labeled paprika. I get it at my local Indian grocers. I think my current batch is Desi brand. You would be fine substituting Kashmiri chili powder though. I love Kashmiri chili powder!

  9. 5 stars
    These recipes along with curry base and restaurant spice mix are a revelation……family are loving Friday Curry Night.

  10. 5 stars
    The basis of making a great curry. I always use proper Kashmiri chilli powder rather than generic stuff for this – It adds so much more taste (and colour) without adding lots of heat – Better to have a mild base curry powder and add more heat to each individual dish as required.

  11. This looks so good. Two questions, what is the mild curry powder you use? And whaT butchers grind for the black pepper? Thanks! Can’t wait to try!

    • I use my copycat of Bolst’s curry powder. There’s a link in the text of this post. Butchers grind a coarse ground pepper. Somewhere between finely ground and cracked. If you live in a country with Costco their coarse ground pepper is about the size I go for.

  12. Once mixed how long would this spice mix last, how best to store it.
    Seems very authentic, and with the curry base I am sure it would make some great meals

    • I hope you do try a few recipes. Once you get the whole restaurant methodology down you can do anything.

      You should store it as you do your other spices – in a cool, dark place. It will keep as long as spices do. Indefinitely, but with decreasing flavour through time.

  13. 5 stars
    Thanks for posting this – and for the curry base recipe. I’ve enjoyed cooking Indian food for years, but tend to slip into a comfort zone where I make the same things over and over. This recipe worked out beautifully. I’ll definitely try some of the others here. Thanks again.

  14. What a quick way to get all the spices you need in one hit. I’m trying to create a Chicken Tikka Pathia but struggling to get anywhere close to the taste te BIR had back in the Midlands…..can you help with the recipe pleeeeeeease? 🙂

    • You can change it to your taste certainly. Note that the recipes that use it on glebe kitchen rely on it as written so your results will be different if you try to make those.

    • This is a batch recipe that is used in many of the recipes on glebekitchen. The amount used is specific to the recipe you are making and is typically in addition to other spices (chili powder, kasoor methi etc). Pick most any recipe labelled as Indian restaurant here to see what I mean.

    • You are very welcome. I make my own garam masala. The recipe is here.

      The proportion of garam masala in this recipe is quite low so you are safe with just about any garam masala. Fresh is better of course.

  15. 5 stars
    Brilliant spice mix, lovely blend of flavours and I’d say a builder with a beautiful aftertaste. Never used as much turmeric before and this ratio works amazingly. Thank you

  16. 5 stars
    Our go to spice mix, fabulous! My wife bought me some smoked paprika recently, I wondered what effect that would have on this recipe?

    May just have to do two batches and let you know!

    • I’ve never even thought of trying that. Let me know what you discover.

      I’m thinking a bit of smoked paprika in a jalfrezi would go well. A little extra smokey flavour!

  17. Just a quick question. I am looking to give this a go tomorrow. I love the sound of doing the tikka masala from scratch but for some reason I ended up getting black cardamom, which maybe from a similar spice mix recipe.

    Would adding in 2 Tbsp black cardamom give it a little more smokier flavour? and would it make much difference to the balance of the flavour?

    Also, is this recipe based on a 2 person portion?

    • Two tablespoons of black cardamom would completely change this mix. I would think it would completely over-power everything else but I can’t say that with certainty as I have never tried it. Really doesn’t sound like a great idea to me though…

      If you want a hint of smoky flavour why not add one or two black cardamom pods into a portion of curry as you make it. Whole spices go in before anything except the oil. Heat the oil, toss them in and cook them until they crackle a bit. Then proceed with the recipe as written.

      This recipe makes far more than is needed in any of the curries on this blog. Typically you only put one or two tsp of spice mix in a portion of curry.

  18. This is funny! I have never seen curry powder being added to n authentic curry spice mix! As a matter of fact native experienced Indian restaurant cooks view it as sacrilegious.

    • It’s a simple way to get the trace spices into the mix without having to purchase/store/measure them out. Home cooks don’t cook in the same volume as restaurant cooks so it’s hard to get the minute quantities measured out. Indian stores are full of masala mixtures or pre-mixed spices. Some of them are simply labeled curry powder. Madras curry powder is an example of that. And Indian restaurant kitchens rely on all kinds of shortcuts so I find it hard to believe a bit of curry powder is sacrilege…

  19. 5 stars
    I am so excited n happy to have found your web page.

    Your recipes are so easy n flavoursome
    Will try the spice mix
    Thanks for sharing your ideas

    • My pleasure. I’m working on a restaurant curry technique post that should be out soon. Once I have that up I’ll start posting restaurant style curry recipes.

  20. I love cooking Indian food, and it makes my whole house smell wonderful. But it is always so many ingredients, so I like the idea of having this around ahead of time! I’m thinking it would be good in a yogurt marinade for grilled chicken, too. I’m sure it will be a new staple in my house!

    • Haha. I don’t know that the raw spice flavour would work that well on popcorn but that would be a fun experiment for sure.

  21. yay yay yay!! So excited to try this out with your curry base! Finally I can make my own awesome indian food at home!! and I LOVE how you wrote the ingredients down in the photograph! Such a personal and nice touch!

  22. 5 stars
    I LOVE this! I am not the best at Indian cooking but I really love curry, this will definitely help me create an awesome starting point. Thank you so much for sharing, pinning for later!

    • This, combined with the curry base and a few soon to be posted tips will have you cooking curry like a pro!

  23. Yessss! Indian food is a joy I did not experience until I was an adult and now I’m obsessed! I would eat it every night if I could. I am definitely emptying out the spice cabinet to make room for this gem!

4.63 from 54 votes (40 ratings without comment)

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