A homemade tikka masala curry paste that comes together in minutes and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for busy days. Soy-free, gluten-free and vegan recipe. Can be nut-free.
If you are a harried cook, and who isn't these days, you are going to love my Tikka Masala Curry Paste. It's saucy and spicy and full of deep, rich flavor, but best of all you can scrape it into a jar, bung it into your refrigerator, pull it out when you have a mind for something flavorful and comforting, and get a satisfying meal on the table in under 15 minutes. Yes, you read that right-- 15 minutes.
But first, I want your advice. Because these are rough times for my heart.
Opie, my dog, is sick. He started to lose his balance last month and we found out that he has a condition that causes bloody fluid to accumulate around his heart: pericardial effusion. The fluid puts so much pressure on his heart that his blood pressure shoots through the roof and could cause him to collapse or even die.
After the diagnosis, a cardiologist stuck a needle in him, pumped out the liquid, and told us that it may or may not come back, we had to keep an eye on him. The liquid did come back, and now the doctors believe he could be harboring a tumor in his blood vessels that's causing the effusion. If that's true, he may have two months or less to live.
On Monday morning we rushed Opie back to the hospital because he could not move and his breathing grew labored. He will stay there until Wednesday when he will undergo surgery to remove his heart sac and when we will know, for sure, if he has a tumor.
While agreeing to surgery would be a no-brainer if Opie were younger, at 13 and a half, with severe arthritis that makes it difficult for him to move, we are nervous about his recovery from open heart surgery. Since I know my readers here at Holy Cow! are an animal-loving bunch with pets of their own, I wanted to take a chance and ask if any of you have faced a similar diagnosis for your pet before, and what you did.
Opie is my heart. I have been mom to many, many cats and dogs, and I have loved each one of them with my whole heart, but with Opie it's always been different: he has always been the one. Desi often tells me I played favorites with Opie, even when we had other pets, including Lucy and Freddie, and there is some truth in it. I have often told Desi, only half-jokingly, that he should never ever let anything happen to Opie because I don't think I can live without him.
Opie's a true character: opinionated, stubborn, happy, and sometimes an absolute pain. He is the one who never learned to walk on a leash because he wants to do what he wants to do. The one who will drag me all around the neighborhood chasing after squirrels. The one who will keep me out freezing in the snow for an hour while he slips and slides in the snow and makes dog-shaped snow angels. The one who will put a paw on my knee when I come home from work and, with the other paw, beg me to bring my face closer so he can cover it with a hundred kisses.
He is the dog every one of our guests always fell in love with, even when he did not return their affections. Part chow, he is incredibly loving and loyal to Desi and I and cannot bear to be separated from us for even a few minutes, but he is also rather aloof with people who are outside his pack. But there has always been something about that golden, fluffy fur, the constantly wagging tail, and the wide smile on an angelic face, that has made hearts melt. When we drive down the street, Opie riding shotgun in my lap, every driver and pedestrian we encounter who happens to see him smiles instantly.
Please keep him in your thoughts.
I have always been a speed-seeking cook, but given how much busier my days have gotten of late, I have been trying to find new ways to make food fast without compromising on the deliciousness. As a result, I've been making more and more sauces and pastes that I can store in the refrigerator or freezer and pull out to create healthy, tasty meals on the fly.
This Tikka Masala Curry Paste is one of my favorites, because it's easy to make and the amount that this recipe makes is enough to last three meals, which is wonderful. I store this in the refrigerator if I know I am going to use it up within a week, but if you plan to store for longer, place it in the freezer and thaw out in the microwave or on the countertop.
In my next post, I will share with you a Tikka Masala Curry made with this sauce (this will also work wonders with a slow cooker recipe-- I can imagine emptying a can of chickpeas into a cooker with some of this sauce and some water and letting it all slow cook to perfection). But first, the Tikka Masala Curry Paste recipe.
More saucy Indian vegan recipes you might like
- Tofu Tikka Masala
- Vegan "Chicken" Tikka Masala Pot Pie
- Vegan Malai Kofta Curry
- Vegan Butter Chicken
- Vegan Paneer Butter Masala
Homemade Tikka Masala Curry Paste
- 1 medium red onion (chopped)
- 8 cloves garlic (crushed and roughly chopped)
- 1-inch knob ginger (peeled and chopped)
- 2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 cloves
- 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 1-inch stick cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup cashews (soaked for 30 minutes. To make this nut-free, use ¼ cup canned coconut milk, the thick part)
- Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves. Stir until the cardamom begins to turn lightly golden, about two minutes.
- Add the cumin and coriander seeds and stir-fry for a few more minutes until the coriander starts to darken slightly.
- Add the onions, ginger, garlic, a pinch of salt, and sugar. Stir-fry over medium heat until the onions start to turn brown.
- Add the kasoori methi, tomato paste and tomatoes and mix well. Add ¼ cup of water, cover, and let the mixture cook about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are really mushy and most of the water has evaporated.
- Let the mixture cool, then transfer to a blender along with the soaked cashews.
- Blend into a smooth paste, adding a little water, a tablespoon at a time, if necessary to keep the blades moving.
- Scrape into an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator if you plan to use within a week, or in the freezer if you want to keep it for longer. Thaw out before using.
- Next, stay tuned for a curry using this tikka masala curry paste.
- Make this recipe nut-free by subbing the cashew cream with ¼ cup of thick coconut milk.
- You can use all kinds of veggies, meat substitutes and even lentils with this tikka masala paste.
- Tikka Masala is best served with naan, roti, or rice.
The instructions indicate cloves but they are absent from the list of ingredients. What quantity is needed?
Vaishali, my best thoughts are sent your way. I have lost beloved animals - and last May, I lost my only child to breast cancer. I can say for sure that while my heart is broken, our love counts and fills me with the knowledge that during her life, she knew she was loved.
I am so sorry about Opie, Vaishali. You all are in my thoughts. One of the best books I read recently is Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, a meditation on medical intervention at the end of life. For an elderly pet suffering, I would be in favor of offering palliative care only. But you will know in your heart what is best for your Opie and I wish you the best.
At risk of wearing out my presence on this blog, I would like to add one more comment... about a good death...
Trouble, named for her ability to get her way, was my 20 year old cat who developed lymphoma... I watched her grow weaker and smaller for months, never knowing if I would find her alive when I returned home from work... I gave her the best of care... lots of kind words and petting, the softest beds and even baby food, which she seemed to be able to eat. It never occurred to me to have her euthanized or to undertake extreme measures to save her. That turned out to be fortunate. One evening when I returned from work... I could not believe my eyes... she was standing right at the front door waiting for me. I picked her up... she meowed and died in my arms. I allowed her the dignity of picking the time of her death... I will never understand how she summoned the strength to make it to the door. She died on her own terms... after she had a chance to say good-bye.
I cried a lot.... but to this day I am grateful for that one last good-bye.
I'm so very sorry to hear about Opie. We lost 2 of our dogs this year; one to old age (severe and crippling arthritis) and one to post-surgical complications. My heart goes out to you.
There is such a dichotomy between how we treat our family pets and shelter dogs/cats...If only we had as much compassion for the 4-5 million often young and healthy dogs killed in shelters every year... at the behest of all the major animal organizations such as HSUS, PETA and ASPCA, who all approve of 'euthanasia' for homeless domestic animals.
Whatever happens to Opie... and I hope it is an outcome that brings you peace.... I would recommend a donation in his honor.. to The No Kill Advocacy Center founded by Nathan Winograd, a Stanford University trained Lawyer, who has devoted his life to saving shelter animals from the policies of the mainstream organizations and the kill shelters of America.
"In the final analysis, animals in shelter are not being killed because there are too many of the, because there are too few homes, or because the public is irresponsible. Animals in shelters are dying for primarily one reason - because people in shelters are killing them..." Nathan Winograd
By the way, the killing of healthy or treatable dogs is against the law in India, where the very compassionate ethic of ahimsa has had some influence on laws to protect animals. It is a terrible reality that a street dog in India has a better chance for rehabilitation and survival than a shelter dog in the USA.
I am so sorry to hear about Opie's health problems. I recently had a sick companion animal as well. I sent you an email with some of the resources I found during our journey.
Vaishali, I am deeply saddened for you and Opie - I know from experience what a horrible choice you face. Personally, I would do anything - spend anything - to save the life of my fur-person (and did!) but at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself whether your loved boy will suffer. Will he be in pain, what will his quality of life be? The answers will tell you what to do, as will your heart. I wish you both love and absent healing.
I am so sorry about Opie Vaishali. I don't know what I would do. Sending him and you lots of love and prayers to be able to deal with whatever you both choose.
Why is it that the mischievous ones are the ones we love the most?
A number of years ago on the way into work on a Sunday... I saw a beautiful yellow labrador retriever get escorted out of a dunking donuts... undaunted he crossed the street and went into a pizza bar... again he was escorted out... I called to him... and he came, so I took him into work and called animal control.... I was told that if no one claimed him I could keep him...and I did. The years spent with him were a delight... One day he ran off during a snow storm in a local arboretum... I searched for him for 45 minutes, convinced he was lost... when I spotted him running up and down a hill with children on their sleds... He loved everyone... and became an ambassador of good will in my neighborhood and around town...
I was heartbroken when he was diagnosed with lymphoma... I wish I had let him die naturally... instead I was talked into chemo... which was so toxic.... it was the chemo that killed him. When he died I received flowers, books, donations were made in his name... and some of my neighbors were so distraught they just burst into tears when the tried to say his name - HOMER.
Now I remember all the wonderful and mischievous adventures he took me on... with happiness and can laugh at all the trouble he got me into... He knew what was right, and when he was about to disobey he would turn to me and say sorry... To the day he died he loved donuts and pizza.
Remembering him will always bring joy to my heart...
I'm going to venture into a personal experience about my beloved Leela kitty, also a favorite, favorite -- of everyone! "This Cat!" my vet would say every time we came and the staff would come pet her and say "hi". I could take her places on a leash, strangers would smile and pet her. She was an angel cat born to love. Right in her kitty prime she developed a fibrosarcoma, which was aggressive and had a high morbidity rate. Leela was a special cat so I decided we were going to fight it. We went through cancer treatment and in the process she lived another year and a few months, with 3 surgeries, monthly vet visits, needles and chemo. Maybe it did extend her life, who knows, but the chemo that killed the cancer destroyed her kidneys. After which I had to give her food via a syringe and liquids via I.V. for a month before she died. Up to the point where her kidneys failed, I was positive that i was doing the best thing and happy to do anything I needed to do for my Leela, to help keep her alive... but everything looked very different in hind sight. We probably would have had the same outcome without enduring the whole medical experience (and expense). Not to mention that i struggled with feelings of 'what if' I had made things worse. I also had the persistent feeling that, during it all, Leela did not understand or like what was being done to her. Anything I think about her experience would naturally be a projection of my human mind (and wow, does mankind screw up nature sometimes) but I still wonder what she would wish for herself. Looking forward, if it happened all over, with the prognosis of the disease, I would not go the medical route again. Whatever you decide will be right choice. I would consider medical intervention for my elderly pets solely to alleviate their suffering, nothing more. I think now is the time for super love, exceptional treats and warm fluffy pet beds. May you all find blessings and comfort. May all beings in all the worlds be peaceful and happy.
Vaishali,This is very painful.I feel that however awful one feels,one does not want to drag out one's baby's pain and discomfort.You must be very brave and let him go.:(((
Please find a homeopathic vet and take Opie to her/him! Homeopathy can work wonders for practically any condition. I wish you all well!
Vaishali.....this is an incredibly hard decision. We know that to have our animal companions we most likely will outlive them. I had an older dog that I loved and was in a similar situation....older, physical challenges.
Frankly, it was a very difficult decision, but I decided not to,proceed with the invasive surgery and to offer a compassionate solution. The recovery will be extremely difficult whether or not there is a tumor and Opie may suffer further.
Vaishali, so sorry you are going through this. They are loved so much and are here for such a short time. I have a question for you that may help you make your decision- what will Opie's quality of life be if he does go through the operation and can be repaired? Will what he has to go through be worth it for him?
Gosh, I can feel the anguish. Have been that road. It is so hard. My advise to you (as he is only 13) is try the Holistic solution. Go to this website. You can call them, email them, they will call you back, email you back with solutions. I know they have helped so many furry babies. I am one of their customers. Please give them a try for Opie's sake.
Thanks for the recipe but I cannot focus as Opie is all I am thinking.
Vaishali, my heart aches for you now. Making difficult decisions for our furry family members is always gut-wrenching. In 2013, two of our three dogs died of different cancers. One went through chemo, did well, and then came out of remission. The other one was not a candidate for chemo, which made me feel so powerless.
If it were me, I would make the decision for surgery. And I would do everything possible to help his recovery, which for me means holistic care. Acupuncture, a raw diet, herbs and supplements (coconut oil is fabulous!) all aid in healing and recovery. Acupuncture can also greatly help the arthritis.
I can recommend a great pet acupuncturist who works up in your area. And I'm happy to tell you what I know about supplements and raw diets.
Whatever you decide, please know that we are thinking of you, and of Opie.
I don't have any wise words or advice to offer you, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're going through this with Opie...he sounds like a truly amazing pet, and quite lucky to have you for a family.
Vaishali, I send you love and compassion as you experience this with Opie. We must realize the flesh robe is a borrowed experience and honor the fleeting moments of life as cherished gifts. My prayers are with you. Be grateful for the good and loving energy.
Thank you for all you give to the world.
Love, Ambika Devi. #YoginiYoda