In this new series, we share our curry of the month, a little history and information about the curry and a recipe. This month, we are sharing our authentic vegetarian tikka masala recipe, including the recipe for tikka masala paste. As a firm favourite with our customers, a good tikka masala goes a long way, and now you can make it at home.

While you might have the recipe, cooking top-quality Indian food is not as easy as it looks! For the full Indian fine dining experience, a choice of quality sides and desserts and excellent royal service, you can’t beat our restaurant.

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What is Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala is a UK favourite curry, served in almost every Indian restaurant and takeaway in the country. It is chicken pieces in a tomato masala sauce, flavoured with paprika, chilli and more.

What is tikka?

Tikka is any boneless meat cut into small pieces. It can also mean a meat alternative such as soy cubes or paneer.

The Chicken Tikka Masala is another British curry favourite, supposedly invented in Glasgow in 1971, when Bangladeshi chef Ali Ahmed Aslam added a masala sauce to a plate of chicken tikka.
This is one of the most accessible dishes for Western palates, as it has a mild spice and is one of the few tomato-based sauces in Indian cooking. Perfect for anyone to cook at home.

At Itihaas, we serve a Vegetarian Tandoori Soya Tikka Masala, marinating soy pieces in spices before pan frying and serving in a deep, thick masala gravy. This is a mildly spiced, vegetarian dish that is a real crowd-pleaser.

tikka masala and sides

Tikka Masala Tips

  • Marinade the protein for a few hours to allow the flavour to sink in.
  • Make a whole jar of your own tikka masala paste. This way you don’t have to make it from scratch whenever you want tikka masala.
  • Whether you use chicken, paneer or soy for your tikka, always marinade before cooking.

For either of these recipes, you can increase the servings they yield by increasing the amounts of ingredients accordingly.

Recipe for Tikka Masala Paste

Masala means spice or flavour and in cooking refers to a mix of at least 5 spices. In Tikka masala, the masala is used as both marinade and the base for the masala sauce, so it’s worth making a batch if you regularly make curries at home.
Making masala paste is very simple, and the purpose of this recipe is to get your spices balanced rather than to share the method.

Ingredients for Tikka Masala Paste

These quantities will make 1 small jar, which will make approximately 8 servings of tikka masala.

  • 1x Red Chilli (or 1tbsp ground), seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 2x cloves Garlic roughly chopped
  • 2cm piece of Ginger peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • Pinch Salt
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 30 g Fresh Coriander roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 tbsp Oil

To make Tikka masala paste:

  1. Blend all ingredients, either in a bowl or a blender.
  2. If the paste is too thick, add a small amount more oil or tomato puree
  3. If it is still too thick, add a few drops of water, blending until you are happy with the consistency.

Once you have used all you need for the tikka masala, store the rest in a jar in the fridge and use it within 1 month.

How to make Vegetarian Tikka Masala at home

Here we share our vegetarian tikka masala recipe for two. Please increase the amounts proportionally for more servings. You can substitute the Soy for meat such as chicken if you want to learn how to make chicken tikka masala.

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 2 tbsp Tikka masala paste
  • 1 tbsp Yoghurt
  • 300g Soy Tofu, drained, pressed  and cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or oil to prepare masala
  • 1 Onion, chopped roughly
  • 2cm piece Ginger, chopped roughly
  • 1 medium Tomato, chopped (or ½ tin of chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 squeeze Lemon juice
  • 100ml Single cream
  • Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped.

How to make vegetarian tikka masala

Cook the Soy Cubes

  1. Mix 1 tbsp of the masala paste and yoghurt together to make the marinade.
  2. Coat the drained soy cubes in marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. When ready, heat half of the ghee in a pan. Add soy cubes and fry for 2-4 minutes. If you’re using chicken or another meat, fry until cooked through to the centre.

Prepare the masala.

  1. Heat the rest of the ghee and add onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add ginger and saute for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the rest of the masala paste and an extra spoonful of garam masala to taste.
  3. Add tomato and saute until you can squash them easily with a spoon. Add water if needed.
  4. Bring to boil then simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add lemon, cream and a small amount of water. The sauce should be thick and smooth.
  6. Season with salt and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add water if needed.
  7. Stir in pan-fried soy and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with roti, naan or rice as you prefer.

Notes on Tikka Masala Paste Recipe

Increase Spice: Add another teaspoon of red chilli powder or another chilli pepper
Scale: This recipe makes approximately 6 tbsp (100ml); to make 200ml, double all quantities.
Store: you can store a jar of masala paste in the fridge for 1 month or in the freezer for 3 months.
Vegan Tikka Masala: you can substitute most of the dairy ingredients in this recipe for plant-based alternatives to make vegan tikka masala.

  • Use any oil instead of ghee; coconut oil is a good choice but any will work.
  • Thick coconut milk or coconut cream can replace the yoghurt in the marinade and the cream in the masala sauce.

Get the full experience at Itihaas

Making tikka masala at home is a great way to enjoy this dish on a busy weeknight, especially if you have made the paste already and your tofu has been marinating overnight.

However, for food prepared by 5 star trained chefs, and a more relaxing experience, come to Itihaas. We have tables available for parties of all sizes. Booking is recommended.

Book a Table at Itihaas | View Itihaas Menu

18 Fleet Street Birmingham, B3 1JL – TELEPHONE: 0121 212 3383 – OPEN: Sun – Fri 1:00 pm – 10:30 pm – Sat 4:00 pm- 10:30 pm


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