Tikka Masala Paste

It started snowing this morning so I decided it was the perfect day to make a curry. I’m made chicken tikka masala many times, many ways, but today, I thought things should be done properly, entirely from scratch. 

  
So the starting point is a great tikka masala paste. I’ll share the recipe as to how to turn this into a full-blown curry later this week, because that recipe can also be made with a ready-made from the supermarket curry paste, if that makes sense. As well as a proper curry, though, this makes a great marinade for chicken or prawns, loosened up with Greek yoghurt and a teaspoon of lemon juice. 

  
You will need:

4 cloves garlic 

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into 4 pieces

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp smoked paprika 

2 tsp garam masala 

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander 

1 tsp chilli flakes (if you prefer, you could use 1 or 2 fresh chillis)

2 tbsp groundnut oil

2 tbsp tomato purée 

1 tbsp ground almonds (I used flaked because I had some open) – if you’re allergic to nuts you can obviously leave these out! Use dessicated coconut instead o

  
You will also need a mini-chopper or a good heavy pestle and mortar. I have a Brevie stick blender which also came with a chopper attachment as well as a blender attachment so I just used the chopper to save my muscles.   
1. Put the garlic (peeled) and ginger into the chopper or mortar (yes, I just looked that up! The mortar is the bowl and the pestle is the grindy thing). Add in all the dried spices, then the oil and tomato purée. Finally, add the almonds. 

  
2. Carefully bash or blitz everything together. It can be pretty stubborn to start with, but be patient. If it stops turning at any point, you may have to open it up and move it all about with a spoon a couple of times before it will be completely smooth. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of the almonds completely ground; they’ll add a nice texture later. 

  
Spoon out into a bowl or jar. If you’re making it ahead of time, you might want to add a little groundnut oil, cover and put in the fridge. This should be enough to make a curry for 4, but you’ll have leftovers if you’re cooking for 2. 

  
Let me know how you get on!

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