Tikka masala paste is a flavorful ingredient useful in many cooking applications. But, what will you do if you don’t have this at home? Let’s check out the best substitutes for tikka masala paste for a similar flavor.
The ideal options to use when tikka masala paste is out include the following:
- Homemade tikka masala paste
- Madras curry paste
- Tandoori paste
- Vindaloo curry paste
- Balti curry paste
- Rogan Josh curry paste
- Thai Massaman curry paste
Read along to learn how these substitutes work out for you when the original product is not around.
07 Useful Substitutes For Tikka Masala Paste
Tikka masala paste is commonly used to marinate the chicken when making chicken tikka. In addition to this, this paste has a few other uses too. This ingredient usually comes together with:
- Garam Masala
- Tomato puree
- Fresh cilantro
- Ground turmeric
- Red chiles
Sometimes, you may run out of your jar of tikka masala paste. In such instances, you may seek help with possible options that could give a similar flavor replication. So, we have a few of them that might help you out.
01- Homemade Tikka Masala Paste
Your best bet is to make your own batch of tikka masala paste at home out of all the Tikka Masala Paste substitutes. Putting this together in your kitchen is very simple if you have the required ingredients. A homemade tikka masala paste allows you to use it like a shop-bought jar.
Pros of using Homemade Tikka Masala Paste:
- Very versatile in terms of ingredients and flavor.
- Since you know what goes in, you will not have to worry about preservatives or nut allergies.
- Can be easily used with anything from basic chicken tikka masala to any other cooking application.
- Comes together easily in a blender or a food processor.
- Can make larger batches depending on your requirement.
Cons of using Homemade Tikka Masala Paste:
- It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to make this. Therefore, it might not be effective when you need to rush things.
- Since no artificial flavors are included, heightened flavor notes in shop-bought products might not be savored in homemade recipes.
- Shelf life can be low due to the lack of preservatives.
- Purchasing individual ingredients to make tikka masala paste at home may cost you more than buying a single product.
02- Madras Curry Paste
Madras curry paste, also known as madras spice paste is another perfect option among tikka masala paste substitutes. It shares many common ingredients with our topic leader such as:
- Garam masala
- Red chiles
The tanginess of tomato puree is usually attained by tamarind in madras curry powder. However, this option tends to be spicy and hotter than the tikka masala paste.
But, it could work well as a marination spice in dishes that originally called for the tikka masala paste. You can use this alternative in a 1:1 ratio or depending on the dish you wish to use this as a substitute.
Pros of using Madras Curry Paste:
- The bulk of similar ingredients gives an identical base flavor making this suitable for many dishes.
- Can be even used as a base for soups and stews.
- A similar color and texture can be expected.
Cons of using Madras Curry Paste:
- Can be more spicy and hotter than tikka masala paste due to more spices and the amount of red chiles used.
- Some variations might lack the tanginess of tomato puree.
- Finding this substitute from the local stores outside of India can be a little challenging.
03- Tandoori Paste
Popular as much as the tikka masala paste, the tandoori paste is another ingredient essential to Indian cuisine that you can use as one of the Tikka Masala Paste substitutes. Tandoori paste essentially does the same activity as tikka masala paste, which is seasoning chicken.
Therefore, you can use this already when you don’t have our topic leader around. Tandoori paste shares several similar ingredients such as:
- Garam masala
- Red chile powder
- Dried spices (coriander, cumin)
In addition to these ingredients, it may contain citrus flavors like lemon or lime juice, curd or yogurt. However, you can use this in marination or add it to certain curries, or gravies. Start by using a moderate amount at first and then adjust the quantities depending on your dish.
Pros of using Tandoori Paste:
- The similar base flavor will give very effective results as a substitute.
- A comparable color and texture can be expected.
- The thicker texture allows a great consistency when incorporated into curries, dips, or gravies.
Cons of using Tandoori Paste:
- Sometimes tandoori paste could be hotter than the tikka masala paste due to more red chiles and chile powder.
- Tomato puree is not typically included in this option.
- Those who are lactose intolerant or vegan should be mindful when using this substitute since dairy products are often included.
04- Vindaloo Curry Paste
The name vindaloo is nothing new to Indian cuisine. Thus, the vindaloo curry paste is another great alternative to replicate the taste of tikka masala paste. This option also contains some similar elements that can be seen in topic leaders like:
- Red chiles
- Ground turmeric
- Dried spices (cumin, coriander)
Apart from these ingredients, most vindaloo curry pastes might also have vinegar, tamarind paste or lime juice.
This will make this paste more robust in flavor. Nevertheless, you can use vindaloo paste in marinating chicken and it mainly goes well with other types of meat as well. Start by using a small amount at the beginning and you can increase the quantity as you build up the flavor of the dish.
Pros of using Vindaloo Curry Paste:
- Easy to find due to its availability
- Comparable spiciness works great as a marination spice
- Can be even used as a base for many other curries
Cons of using Vindaloo Curry Paste:
- Holds more robustness and heat notes due to more ingredients and large amounts of red chiles used.
- All the products might not have the tanginess of tomato you sully savor in tikka masala paste
- The intense flavor might not be suitable for those who prefer mild spiciness.
05- Balti Curry Paste
This famous Pakistan curry paste is another ready-made alternative you can get to replicate the flavor of our topic leader. Balti curry paste or balti spice paste is a robust, zesty ingredient that holds many similar ingredients such as:
- Garam Masala
- Dried spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric)
- Coriander leaves (cilantro)
When marinating chicken or lamb, Balti curry paste is a wonderful addition to tikka masala. It goes with other types of meat, fish, and seafood as well.
In addition to that, you can also use the balti curry paste in making various curries and curry sauces. Use this alternative in a 1:1 ratio or decide the amount depending on the dish you wish to use this as a substitute.
Pros of using Balti Curry Paste:
- The similar base flavor will allow you to use this substitute in a variety of dishes
- The texture, color, and quality are comparable to that of tikka masala paste
- Spices like nigella seeds can give this option a more elevated flavor, which can be ideal to complement the richness of the meat.
Cons of using Balti Curry Paste:
- Can be a bit challenging to find outside of India or Pakistan.
- Most variations can have a more spicy note than tikka masala which can be unfavorable to those who prefer mild spiciness.
- The robust flavor profile might not work well with mild vegetables.
06- Rogan Josh Curry Paste
The popular Rogan Josh curry paste originating from Kashmiri cuisine is another favorable substitute for tikka masala paste.
This curry paste is also associated with meat. And holds a profundity of flavor which is comparable to our topic leader. The Rogan Josh curry paste shares similar ingredients with tikka masala paste such as:
- Garam masala
- Dried spices (paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin)
- Mild red chiles
The Rogan Josh curry paste is famous for its mild nature. Therefore, you might want to use more of it when you substitute it for certain dishes.
However, this replicates the flavor of our topic leader perfectly when it comes to seasoning meat. Depending on your palate, you can use this in a 1:1 ratio or a little more.
Pros of using Rogan Josh Curry Paste:
- The mild flavor is versatile and adjustable.
- Suitable to use as a substitute even in vegetable dishes.
- Can get a similar color and texture.
Cons of using Rogan Josh Curry Paste:
- Rogan just curry paste can be somewhat hard to find in local stores outside of India
- Tomato puree is not a standard ingredient in this curry paste so it might sometimes lack the tanginess.
- You may want to add additional ingredients if you wish to marinate thick meat with this paste aiming for cooking over high heat.
07- Thai Massaman Curry Paste
Thai curry paste tends to have a different flavor profile from that of Indian ones But still, Thai Massaman curry paste is influenced by Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Therefore, if you run out of your tikka masala paste yet have your massaman paste, you can use it instead. This option contains several common ingredients such as:
- Dried spices (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, etc.)
- Coriander root gives a similar flavor to coriander leaves
- Red chiles
In addition to these ingredients, it also contains Thai exotics such as lemongrass, kaffir lime zest, galangal, and shrimp paste.
Thai massaman curry paste is not runny like the tikka masala paste. So you might have to add some oil when using this to marinate meat. This alternative can be a little more intense in flavor. Therefore, use it in small amounts at the start and then adjust the quantities as you proceed.
Pros of using Thai Massaman Curry Paste:
- Can be more versatile in usage than tikka masala paste due to its thicker texture.
- Thai exotic flavors can create excellent fusion dishes.
- No excessive heat or spiciness. So, it is a great option for those who love mild curries.
Cons of using Thai Massaman Curry Paste:
- Massaman curry paste is a more coarse and thicker paste than tikka masala paste. Therefore, it might not be favorable for those who expect consistency in tikka masala paste.
- Some might not like the flavors of Thai ingredients in this curry paste
- This might not be suitable for vegans since shrimp paste and fish sauce are often included.
Be The Game-changer By Using These Effective Tikka Masala Substitutes!
Having a jar of tikka masala paste at home will help you create lovely marinades for your meat and seafood. But, there can be times when you forget to restock it at home. When you suddenly run out of tikka masala paste, alternatives like homemade tikka masala paste, madras curry paste, tandoori paste, etc., will help you.