This Indian paste is a blend of spices, oil and tomato puree that has been slowly cooked down into a glorious, vibrant paste used in Indian tandoor recipes and curries. With the addition of yoghurt and extra spices, the paste turns chicken, lamb or paneer into a fragrant and tasty explosion, especially when homemade.

Store-bought tikka masala paste is a convenient cupboard item, but double-check the ingredients label for gluten as some are thickened with wheat. Good brands that I know of are Pataks and Sharwoods. If you like to make homemade condiments and marinades, then this paste is a great one to have readily available from the fridge to add to a butter chicken curry or my easy recipe for chicken tikka kebabs. Not only does it taste authentic, fresh and delicious, but it is healthier with no additives or colourants.

All the ingredients are readily available and as most of us have a food processor, this paste is doable. So, if you miss enjoying a decent curry or fancy a bit of a zing to your BBQ meats, then give this a go, ideally with the windows open!



For one recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 3 dried red whole chillis
  • A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 7 cm ginger piece, peeled
  • 110ml olive oil or coconut oil
  • 25ml water
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 35ml tomato puree

Makes 250ml

For one jar:

  • 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 4 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 6 dried red whole chillis
  • A large bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 14 garlic cloves
  • 14 cm ginger piece, peeled
  • 150ml olive oil or coconut oil
  • 50ml water
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 70ml tomato puree

Makes 500ml

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Dry roast the seeds and whole chilli in a medium-hot pan for a few minutes, or until they release their aroma.
  2. Grind the mixture into a fine powder using either a food processor or a mortar and pestle.

  1. Add the coriander leaves, garlic and ginger. Pulse the mixture into a fine paste.
  2. Switch to a low speed and add the olive oil gradually.
  3. Add the water, lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt, onion powder and tomato puree. Pulse several times.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a heavy-bottom pan, partially cover and cook for 40 minutes on the second lowest setting, stirring occasionally to prevent the paste from sticking to the bottom. Add more oil if it appears to dry.
  5. Remove the cover towards the final 10 minutes of cooking and stir occasionally.
  6. Once the paste appears thick and has a vibrant sheen to it, remove it from the heat, allow it to cool down and store it in a sterilised jar or use it immediately for your chosen dish.

Keeps for 2 weeks chilled

Instructions for when using a Thermomix:

  1. Heat the Thermomix empty for 3 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1. Lid On.
  2. Add the seeds and whole chilli. 1 ½ minutes/Varoma/ Speed 1. Lid Off
  3. Grind the seeds. 1 minute/Speed 8. Lid On.
  4. Add the coriander leaves, garlic, ginger and oil. 1 minute/Speed 10. Lid On.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients. 10 seconds/Speed 7. Lid On.
  6. Scrap down the paste from the sides of the Thermomix.
  7. Cook for *40 minutes/80°C/Speed 2. Lid On. Stop and scrape the bottom of the Thermomix occasionally, to prevent burning or sticking. *If the paste has a deep colour and a vibrant sheen where the oil has lifted out from the paste, it is ready.