Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vegetable Tikka Masala

I feel like I'm totally cheating on this recipe. I'm cheating because a real Indian chef wouldn't use a spice paste to get the delicious tikka masala flavor. A real Indian chef would grind up the spices herself and make the paste. But here's my justification: 1) A long list of ingredients can be intimidating and overwhelming. And this recipe is already sufficiently long. I did it for you. Really. 2) Most of the spices that would go into a tikka  paste are not commonly found in an American kitchen (well, aside from mine and others who like to make Indian food). Rather than tell you all to go out and purchase 7 new spices, you just need to buy one little jar that's most likely under $4. Again. I did it for you. Aren't you grateful?

So tikka paste (note: not simmering sauce). If you've been around for a while, you might remember it from the this dish. Most grocery stores carry some kind of tikka paste in their ethnic food/Indian section, though for a while I had trouble  finding tikka masala. You can use either tikka masala or regular tikka paste; they have a slightly different flavor, but both are tasty. As far as brands go, Patak's is pretty common and, I think, pretty dang good (and not too spicy, though you can add a jalapeno if you like it hot). I've also used Tiger Tiger-mediocre-and Laxmi-tasty, but very spicy. As you make your curry, you may want to taste it near the end and add a little more paste if you like a stronger flavor. If you find your sauce burning your mouth, add a little yogurt to temper the heat.

Vegetable Tikka Masala
Recipe by Kelly
Picture by Kelly

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 tablespoons tikka/tikka masala paste
2-3 medium red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, divided
3 cups vegetable broth
2-3 cups cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 15 oz. can chick peas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
1 cup plain yogurt

salt and pepper, to taste
chopped cilantro

  1. Heat oil on medium heat and add onions. Saute 6-7 minutes or until they're just beginning to soften. Add garlic and ginger and cook 2-3 minutes. Add tikka paste and stir until paste has coated the onions. 
  2. Blend 1 cup of the diced tomatoes until smooth. Add blended tomatoes, remaining tomatoes, broth, and potatoes to onions and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook about 10 minutes until potatoes are almost tender, but not quite (if sauce starts to disappear due to unruly potato absorption, add up to another cup of broth).
  3. Add cauliflower, bell pepper, and chick peas. Bring to a simmer again and cover, cooking another 10 minutes or until cauliflower and potatoes are tender.
  4. Stir in yogurt. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over rice and top with cilantro.

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