How can I simulate this tikka masala sauce?
April 6, 2008 8:37 PM   Subscribe

How can I make a tikka masala sauce just like this jar of Sharwood's?

I really like the slightly sweet flavor and creamy texture of this particular sauce, but it's a British brand that's hard to find where I live. When I am lucky enough to find it (whether locally or online), it's expensive.

I've tried a number of other brands from jars, cans and packets, but none that I like as much as Sharwood's. I was hoping someone might have a recipe to share that will make a sauce that's similar in flavor and/or texture.
posted by tomwheeler to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I could take a stab at it. There are many different variations of this sauce and most people just improvise it but the basic ingredients are onions and tomatoes. So here's a recipe that I haven't really tested but should give you a reasonable approximation:
1 onion, diced fine or made into a paste in a food processor
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced fine
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander powder (dried coriander roots, ground into a powder)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Fry the onion, serrano and garlic in oil until onion is translucent.
2. Add the cayenne, cumin, coriander and cinnamon and continue stirring over high heat for a few minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, a couple tsp salt and maybe a bit more liquid and allow it to cook, covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes or so.
4. Take off the lid and allow the sauce to simmer uncovered until you get a sauce like consistency.
5. Now you could finish the sauce with heavy cream and salt to taste, but if you were going to cook the chicken in the sauce I would advise adding the cream at the very end to prevent it separating.

Hope this helps.
posted by peacheater at 10:05 PM on April 6, 2008 [8 favorites]

I'm not sure where you live, but I think I can get this where I live (Alberta, Canada) if the cost is less prohibitive than shipping from the UK, I could probably send you some. If, of course, none of the recipes give you what you're looking for.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:12 PM on April 6, 2008

Not to hijack this thread....but do they make curry pastes for Indian curries like this? I've seen plenty of pastes for red/green/panang curries, but none for stuff like Tikka Masala, Vindaloo, Madras, etc...

Or do you generally just buy fresh spices for this sort've thing?
posted by pilibeen at 11:38 PM on April 6, 2008

Patak's makes curry pastes -- I don't know if you can get it in the states. But they (along with Sharwood curries) are readily available in Canada, and can generally be found for a decent price.

Sorry I can't help out with recipes.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 12:35 AM on April 7, 2008

Pat Chapman published a book of recipes for "restaurant style" curries in the UK several years ago. Most UK indian restaurants are not particularly authentic and use tricks or short-cuts in the cooking (eg tomato soup in tikka masala; boiling onions for bhuna) that give a very distinctive taste. I'm not a big fan of tikka masala (or jarred sauces in general), but I strongly imagine that this style of recipe will be very similar to the Sharwoods style sauces. I own the book and recommend buying it. If you can't find it or don't want to, email me and I'll transcribe the recipe for you.
posted by bifter at 1:18 AM on April 7, 2008

These are the most authentic make at home curries I have found. Spices and instructions are supplied, you choose the meat and vegatables and build the curry.
posted by fire&wings at 5:15 AM on April 7, 2008

Thanks for the recipe, peacheater. I am going to give it a try this week.

arcticwoman: thanks for the very generous offer to send some to me, but I won't impose. The local international grocery sometimes has the sauce, and I can reliably find it when I travel to Chicago, Seattle or San Francisco. I'd really like to try making my own.

bifter: that sounds like it might be a useful book for me. Hopefully it's called "The Curry Club: Favourite Restaurant Curries," because that's what I just ordered from Amazon.
posted by tomwheeler at 6:08 AM on April 7, 2008

fire&wings: it doesn't look like they ship to the U.S.
posted by tomwheeler at 6:09 AM on April 7, 2008

I recently made this version after seeing it on the Cook's Illustrated podcast. It was excellent.
posted by genefinder at 9:59 AM on April 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

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