When we left the U.S. we moved to Ireland – the first stop on our most interesting journey. One of the many things I remember that enforced the fact that, though everyone spoke English, we were in a foreign land, happened in a supermarket. I was by the meat counters when a young woman came up and showed my a package of chopped chicken. She asked me if I thought it would work for a tikka masala? Or maybe a vindaloo?
I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.
I took a wild guess and said that I would use it for a stir-fry.
She gave me a blank look and walked away.
Two countries divided by a common language.
Since living on this side of the pond I have learned what all these things are. Our friend in Spain was rather famous for his Indian dishes – most of which were too hot for me to eat. I still make his recipe for chicken korma, though.
Read on to learn more:
How To Make A Delicious Tikka Masala
Are you a big curry fan? Perhaps you like a super-spicy phaal when you sit down to tuck into some delicious Indian cuisine. Or are you at the other end of the scale, and a mild korma is all you can stomach?
Whatever your predilections, it’s fair to say that the curry has been widely adopted as a staple of the UK food scene. There’s even a National Curry Week held every October, while it’s reported that the dish contributes more than £5 billion to the British economy.
Part of its appeal is the wide variety of dishes available – from baltis and bhunas to jalfrezis and vindaloos, to name just a few. But which is the nation’s favourite? Research from Foodhub suggests the tikka masala is the UK’s most popular curry.
Usually creamy and orange in colour, it’s a curry that’s full of flavour. But you don’t have to rely on your local restaurant or takeaway service to enjoy a delicious tikka masala. Here, we’ll delve a little deeper into the history of the dish and explain how you can make your own at home.
The origins of tikka masala
The history of the tikka masala is a hotly debated topic. Some claim it originated in Punjab, India and has since been adapted and developed on these shores to become the dish we are familiar with today.
Others, however, believe it was first invented in Britain by Bangladeshi chefs. There are some stories that tell of a customer complaining of a dry curry and sending it back to the kitchen, where the cook subsequently experimented by adding a splash of tomato soup to provide some much-needed moisture.
The different types of tikka masala
Most people would associate tikka masala as being a chicken dish. But in reality, you can adapt it with almost any main ingredient, depending on your tastes.
Those who prefer red meat to white could plump for lamb or beef, and those looking for a meat-free option can use paneer or a selection of vegetables. Once you’ve decided on the main event, it’s time to make that famous tikka masala sauce…
Making your own tikka masala
For this recipe, you’ll need a high-quality non-stick pan set to ensure that your sauce doesn’t burn and that it retains all of its fulsome flavour.
- Mix 30g of garlic and 30g of ginger in a blender with 1 tsp of water to make a paste
- Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a pan and add 2 tsp of cumin seeds, 2 cinnamon sticks, 10 black peppercorns, 2 black and 4 green cardamom, 3 cloves and 1 bay leaf
- Chop 500g of onions and caramelise them slowly
- Add 1 tbsp of the garlic and ginger paste and fry for 3-4 minutes before adding 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp red chilli powder, 1 tbsp coriander and 1 tsp garam masala
- If the sauce is too thick, add around 100ml of water before finally adding 2 tbsp of tomato puree, cooking until the oil comes to the surface
- And voila! You have a delicious, homemade tikka masala!