Foodie Tuesday: Tikka Masala Madness

We were both hungry for something Indian-food-ish. Really hungry. It was time to figure out a new recipe for a nice Tikka Masala-like sauce, for a change of pace. So I went hunting. I looked through my Indian cookbooks and went wandering online for a while, and found that the core ingredients for a creamy tomato curry seemed fairly stable from one recipe to another, but as with any sort of classic food, not only did the proportions vary widely but the peripheral or add-on ingredients did, too.

Jamie Oliver’s recipe seemed to me to sit somewhere right in the middle of the typical combinations, so I chose to use that as a jumping-off point for today’s home-brew. And what do you know, it came out pretty nicely. And relatively simply. I made a big enough batch that I could freeze a couple of meals’ worth, too. I opted to cook up the other parts of the meal (a batch of vegetables, roughly chopped prawns, and coconut rice) separately, then just took some of the finished sauce after it’d simmered for a while and spooned up customized individual combinations in bowls for our dinner.

This is a recipe where it’s particularly helpful to have your mise en place waiting next to the cooktop so it goes together very easily.Photo: Tickled Tikka Masala

Tickled Tikka Masala

Finely mince or crush 2-3 cloves garlic, 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, 1-2 teaspoons freshly chopped jalapeño, and 1 T grated citrus zest (I used lemon and lime together). Mix with 2-3 T lemon juice, 1.5 T chicken bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon brand). Set aside.

Blend together dry ingredients: 2 Tablespoons garam masala, 1 T ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 T cumin, and 1 T smoked paprika, and 2 T freeze-dried diced shallots. Toast gently in 3-4 T ghee in a large pan over medium-low heat.

Add the citrus-bouillon blend and stir it all together to warm through. To this, add a whole can of rich coconut milk (13.5 oz Chaokoh, my fave) and stir it in. Add 24.5 oz canned tomato puree or sauce (tomatoes and salt only; Mutti Passata is my favorite) and about 2 T tomato paste. Let this whole thing simmer gently for an hour or two, covered, stirring occasionally.

Add whole milk yogurt or labneh to taste, serving by serving and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Or, if you don’t have a yogurt-and-green-thingies-averse partner like mine, finish the whole dish with them. Or you can top it with toasted coconut, with cashews, pistachios, bacon pieces, chopped dried apricots, or whatever suits your fancy. However you choose to do it, as you can see by the long list of ingredients and the longer list of recipes I surfed before landing on one of my own, the dish is endlessly customizable. And yes, it turns out, every bit as tasty as I remembered.

Photo: Tikka with Toppings

11 thoughts on “Foodie Tuesday: Tikka Masala Madness

    • Fear not, dear Virginia, I cook quite sloppily and haphazardly myself, so if I can make a thrown-together thing taste good enough to make us happy, I’ve no doubt at all that you can, too. Just tweak the various ingredients to your own taste and you’ll likely have fun with it as well as enjoying eating it. 😀 As I’ve said here before, since I haven’t any serious chef skills, I depend on finding delicious ingredients that take the pressure of needing to “make them into something” away and they hide my weaknesses more deliciously. 😉

    • What’s best, of course, is that it’s easy enough for a very amateur cook to make but tastes good *and* gives me enough for several meals’ worth since there are only two of us in the household. 😀

    • I’m such a DIY and untrained cook that even supposedly “All-American” food ends up being more like a somewhat-related-to-American-style extravaganza when I make it. So I never think of myself as making anything authentic, but rather *inspired by* other cuisines! 😀 Glad you got a good laugh out of it, anyway. 🙂

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