Tikka is the Punjabi word for an Indian dish of small pieces of meat or vegetables marinated in a spice mixture. Masala is an Urdu word for any of a number of spice mixtures ground into a paste or powder for use in Indian cooking. When you put them together you get a rich, creamy, and very flavorful curry with small pieces of meat or vegetables. My version, of course, does not have meat.
Traditional tikka masala sauce is made with heavy cream. I substitute Cocomas Coconut Cream but If you can’t find that at your market, heavy cream it is although it won’t be vegan.
Cocomas is worth finding. The total fat content for ½ cup of Cocomas is a little less than 4 grams. The equivalent amount of heavy cream has almost 10 times that amount and correspondingly more calories.
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large white onion (chopped fine)
1 serrano chili (diced fine)
1 1/2 cups canned tomato purée
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Cocomas Coconut Cream
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the coriander, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, paprika, and grated ginger. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and chili and sauté until the onion is translucent – about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in spice/ginger mixture. Add the tomato purée, water, coconut cream, salt, and pepper and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 – 12 minutes.
For a complete meal, add fresh peas to the sauce while it simmers. Serve over basmati rice with a side of naan. Sauce can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to three days.