Indian cuisine has always been one of my favorite types of food, both to eat, and to cook. The simplicity of the ingredients, mixed with the complex flavors of the spices are absolutely delicious to me.
Tikka means "chunks," as in chunks of meat or paneer (non-melting cheese). For this recipe, I use lots of fresh veggies, canned tomatoes, and chickpeas (garbanzo beans). The chickpeas really give this dish a substantial feeling. Masala is a spice mix. There isn't one type of masala, but generally there can be anywhere between two and twenty different spices mixed into one.
Curries can at times take hours to make, but this is a simple version of vegetable masala, that is delicious, nutritious, and just happens to be vegan!
Vegetable Tikka Masala, serves 8
2 15 oz. cans of coconut cream* 1 32 oz. can tomatoes, diced 2 c. cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 2 carrots, diced 2 celery stalks, diced 1 small onion, diced 2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), diced 3 garlic cloves, sliced 2 tbsp. ginger, minced (about a 1" piece of ginger) 1 tbsp. salt 1 tbsp. garam masala 1 tbsp. curry powder 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. turmeric 1 tsp. red pepper chile flakes 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper 2 tbsp. coconut oil, not pictured
*Coconut cream is not required, but this is what give the masala a thicker, creamier consistency. Regular coconut milk can also be used if you desire a thinner masala.
On medium heat, begin by sautéing onion, carrot, celery, bell peppers, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil until the onions are semi-translucent. Add in spices, and gently stir in. This will form a thick, paste-like mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients, put a lid on pot, place on low heat, and let cook for about an hour. I like to serve this over basmati rice, or with naan, but it is just as delicious without either.
This recipe may be spicy for some, or not spicy enough for others. Use your spices as you like.
While absolutely delicious, it always surprises me that this is my #1 most requested dish. My Mom requested it for her birthday dinner, my boyfriend's son asked for it for his graduation party dinner, and friends ask for it often, too! I love that something so simple, can be so amazing! It's like love in a bowl! Think you'll try it? What other types of Indian food do you enjoy?