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Old 07-12-2021, 11:00 AM   #1
marbles
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Default Tikka Masala

We really love Tikka Masala but I'm a beginner to cooking Indian food. I use jarred sauce but it's never spicy like we like it. I am trying to add spice to it but I can't ever get it quite right. It's good, and I can get it mildly spicy, but I found that adding too much of the same cayenne means I then have to balance with other spices. What spices and chilies do you use to add more flavor and heat?
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Old 07-12-2021, 12:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

Iíve never made this but maybe red pepper flakes or dried guajillo or ancho peppers. Those both have some flavor and not just heat.
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Old 07-12-2021, 01:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

I have the same problem with my curry. I can only get it mildly spicy and anything more and its not the right blend.
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Old 07-12-2021, 04:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

I don't think of Tikka Masala as being too spicy but I think I'd try any red chili like cayenne.

I'm a total recipe person so what I'd do is google a bunch of recipes and see how the spices you're using matches up with a well-reviewed recipe, like this one.

I love Indian food! Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2021, 06:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

I haven't made this one but I love the recipes from Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats.

https://www.recipetineats.com/chicken-tikka-masala/
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Old 07-12-2021, 06:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

https://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/fctm

I haven’t made it, but if the Lazy Genius loves it I would give it a try.
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Old 07-12-2021, 08:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

Do you have an Indian grocery store nearby? They will sell bags of bright red chili powder. This is totally different from what Americans call chili powder. This is what is used to add heat. A little bit goes a LOOOOOONG way so start slow to find out how much will give you the kick you want. You can also simmer it with a whole green chili sliced in half (not jalepeno). This is more unpredictable though. Sometimes it does very little, sometimes it renders your food inedible.
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Old 07-12-2021, 08:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

Perfect I'll try that! I add cayenne and red pepper flakes and once a dried pepper someone gave me but I have to add like tablespoons of the cayenne and then it just tastes like cayenne. And there's just not anything else. But I have not been to an Indian grocery store. TBH I'm a little intimidated to go and not really know what I'm looking for


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Old 07-13-2021, 09:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

Can you buy birds eye chillies? I donít think Iíve ever had a problem with anything not being spicy enough after I use those!
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Old 07-13-2021, 09:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

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Originally Posted by marbles View Post
Perfect I'll try that! I add cayenne and red pepper flakes and once a dried pepper someone gave me but I have to add like tablespoons of the cayenne and then it just tastes like cayenne. And there's just not anything else. But I have not been to an Indian grocery store. TBH I'm a little intimidated to go and not really know what I'm looking for


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Just walk through the aisles slowly until you see the bags of spices. They are usually clear plastic with the name and a picture of Lakshmi on them. They are almost always labeled with English letters. Chili is actually from Hindi so no need worry about translation. If you ask about it though they might not beleive you and give you something else cause everyone knows Amriki loge can't do spicy food.

While you are there look for the junk food and grab a bright orange bag labeled Kurkure. Not one bit healthy but delicious and spicy. Best served alongside sweet milky tea.

And no shame on the jarred masala paste. My husband uses it for Tikka Masala and Chicken Makhani and many of them are authentic (some not so much).
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Old 07-13-2021, 10:07 AM   #11
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

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Can you buy birds eye chillies? I donít think Iíve ever had a problem with anything not being spicy enough after I use those!

I haven't seen them before but I'll look and give it a try


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Old 07-13-2021, 01:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

When I first wanted to learn to cook Indian food I was ever so fortunate to have a student whose parents were Indian and his mom was a fabulous cook. She would send me things to try during his lessons and then took me into her kitchen and showed me how she made some of her staples - basic curries and samosas. She used serrano chilis for heat - they're smaller and hotter than jalapenos, have a similar shape and just as readily available in US supermarkets. Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets are another option. (Habaneros are the ones that look like mini wrinkled bell peppers.) Generally speaking, the smaller the spicier.

The dairy in the recipe dulls the heat, which makes it tricky. You could try a spicier Garam Masala as well as hot paprika instead of sweet. (I tend to use smoked paprika, but my family is only a moderate spice crowd.)

A bit of Trivia - legend has it that Chicken Tikka Masala was actually created in the UK. (Glasgow, I think?)
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Old 07-13-2021, 01:54 PM   #13
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

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Originally Posted by ViolaMum View Post
When I first wanted to learn to cook Indian food I was ever so fortunate to have a student whose parents were Indian and his mom was a fabulous cook. She would send me things to try during his lessons and then took me into her kitchen and showed me how she made some of her staples - basic curries and samosas. She used serrano chilis for heat - they're smaller and hotter than jalapenos, have a similar shape and just as readily available in US supermarkets. Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets are another option. (Habaneros are the ones that look like mini wrinkled bell peppers.) Generally speaking, the smaller the spicier.

The dairy in the recipe dulls the heat, which makes it tricky. You could try a spicier Garam Masala as well as hot paprika instead of sweet. (I tend to use smoked paprika, but my family is only a moderate spice crowd.)

A bit of Trivia - legend has it that Chicken Tikka Masala was actually created in the UK. (Glasgow, I think?)
I can get serranos! I used to have habaneros but we don't have them this year. I've heard that, that chicken Tikka masala is more a combination of two dishes or something. Either way, it's really good. I've tried cooking a couple other things and liked them all, but I'm trying to build slowly!

I have so much to go on now!
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Old 07-13-2021, 06:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

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Originally Posted by marbles View Post
I've heard that, that chicken Tikka masala is more a combination of two dishes or something.
So if I go to a dhaba (street food place) and ask for chicken tikka I will get a stick with pieces of chicken on it served with a spicy green mint sauce. Chicken tikka masala is when the restaurant takes the left over kababs, makes a sauce with masala (spice) and serves it by the bowl full with rice or roti.

Habaneros and paprika would taste wrong in my opinion (though food is a very regional thing so people in other places may disagree). Serranos should be very similar to green chilies.
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Old 07-13-2021, 06:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Tikka Masala

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Originally Posted by arelyn View Post
So if I go to a dhaba (street food place) and ask for chicken tikka I will get a stick with pieces of chicken on it served with a spicy green mint sauce. Chicken tikka masala is when the restaurant takes the left over kababs, makes a sauce with masala (spice) and serves it by the bowl full with rice or roti.

Habaneros and paprika would taste wrong in my opinion (though food is a very regional thing so people in other places may disagree). Serranos should be very similar to green chilies.

I've mostly had habaneros in combination with sweet things, which is why I never tried it. I didn't think they would go. I used some smoked paprika this time on the chicken and I didn't really notice a difference, but I didn't use a lot and anyway it isn't spicy.


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