Did you ever try to find that one original tikka masala recipe? I’m afraid you can stop looking: a survey once found that of 48 different recipes, the only common ingredient was chicken! (source: wikipedia)
Tikka masala is a world famous dish. Nevertheless there are rumors that tikka masala is not as Indian, but a westernized version that originated in England. Although there’s no standard recipe, the sauce usually includes tomatoes (frequently as puree), coriander, various spices and (coconut) cream.
“Tikka” refers to “roasted chunks”. You might know the common chicken tikka masala but today I’m making a vegetarian version from scratch, with sweet potatoes and spinach. To me an India curry without naan is like a cappuccino without milk and trust me: making your own naan is so much better than store-bought!
The great thing about Indian food is that all those flavours are quite impressive to your guests who taste it, with really minimum effort ;-).
Tikka masala with sweet potato and spinach
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
- 1 large onion (or 2 shallots), finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. of chili flakes
- a bunch of fresh coriander, stalks cut and finely chopped (reserve leaves until later)
- 1 tbsp. of ground coriander
- 2 tsp. of ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. of ground paprika powder
- 1 tsp. of garam masala + a bot extra to season the potatoes
- 250 ml of cold water
- 4 tbsp. of concentrated tomato puree
- 1 tbsp. of sugar
- 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 200-250 ml of coconut milk
- 2-3 full hands of fresh spinach
- Serve with basmati rice and/ or fresh homemade naan
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- In an oven tray, mix the sweet potato cubes with some olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of garam masala
- Roast the sweet potato for 30 minutes in the preheated oven
- Meanwhile heat a splash of oil in large enough pan to hold all curry ingredients and fry the chopped onion until soft
- Add the chopped garlic, chili flakes and coriander stalks and fry on very low heat for 15-20 minutes until soft and brown
- This is the step where you really develop the flavours and your kitchen starts smelling like India: add the ground spices and cook for a minute or two
- Meanwhile mix the water with the tomato puree and the sugar, there should be no lumps
- Add the tomato mixture to the pan, together with the stock cube. Stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes
- Add the coconut milk and bring the sauce to boil
- Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for another 20 minutes
- By now your sweet potato should be ready: add it to the pan together with the spinach and stir until wilted
Your tikka masala is now ready to serve! Garnish with a handful of coriander and sprinkle with extra chili flakes. For some freshness you could add a swirl of yoghurt. As with most curry dishes, this masala will even taste better the next day, so don’t hesitate to make a bit more ;-).