Tikka Masala - The Ultimate Indian Specialty

With so many iconic Indian dishes out there, it’s hard to say which one is the tastiest. It’s also a very subjective thing, which makes the whole endeavor even harder. Nonetheless, Indian cuisine has quite a long tradition and an even longer range of delicious treats. Among all those amazing picks, one name stands out - Tikka Masala.

This is one of India’s finest dishes and one of the most popular Indian foods worldwide. New Zealand is no exception. Plenty of New Zealanders enjoy this wonderful specialty and the number keeps growing as we speak. If you’ve never heard of Tikka Masala before, though, have no fear. You will learn everything you need to know in the lines below and you will also learn how you can make one yourself. Lastly, you will also find out where you can order the best Tikka Massala in the country.

Let’s get started!

What is Tikka Masala?

The first thing we need to ask ourselves is - what is Tikka Masala? Tikka Masala is a dish that contains chunks of roasted and marinated chicken (chicken tikka). It is cooked in a special curry sauce that is both creamy and spicy at the same time.

The meat is marinated in yogurt and various spices and then roasted in the oven. Other than chicken, there are many ingredients that you can find here, but the most common ones are coriander and tomato. The best thing about Tikka Masala is that we have no standard list of ingredients and everyone can make their own version of the dish - a version that is both unique and delicious at the same time.

Tikka Masala has some similarities with Butter Chicken, both in terms of appearance and method of creation. Still, this is a completely standalone dish.

Now let’s see how we can make our own Tikka Masala and what ingredients we need to do that.

What ingredients do we need to make our own Tikka Masala?

Here are all the ingredients that you will need to make a top-notch Tikka Masala:

  • One cup of basmati rice
  • One and a half tablespoons of canola oil
  • One and a half pounds of skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One and a half diced sweet onion
  • Three tablespoons of raw tomato paste
  • Three cloves of minced garlic
  • One and a half teaspoons of garam masala
  • One tablespoon of grated ginger
  • One and a half teaspoons of chili powder
  • One and a half teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • One can of tomato sauce
  • One cup of chicken stock
  • One and a half of cup heavy cream
  • Two tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves

Making Tikka Masala - the procedure

The whole procedure is fairly simple. You have six basic steps that you need to follow:

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  1. Prepare a large saucepan that contains two cups of water. That’s where you will need to cook and prepare your rice first. Follow the package instructions and put everything aside once you are done.
  2. Now you need to heat some canola oil in a Dutch oven or a large stockpot over medium heat. Add some salt and pepper to improve the taste of your chicken and then add the meat and onion to the stockpot. Cook everything for about 4-5 minutes before moving on to the next step.
  3. Stir in the turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, ginger, garlic, and tomato paste until fragrant. It takes about a minute on average to reach that phase.
  4. Now you need to stir in chicken stock and tomato sauce. Season the chicken with pepper and salt to boost the flavor yet again and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer while stirring the mix from time to time. Do this until the texture is thickened and reduced (it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes).
  5. The last thing you need to do at this point is stir in heavy cream until it is fully heated through. This step shouldn’t last more than a minute
  6. That’s it, you can finally start eating! For the best experience, make sure you serve it with rice and even garnished with cilantro if you desire.