Lamb & Eggplant Tikka Masala

Lamb & Eggplant Tikka Masala ~ tikka masala is probably the most popular Indian dish on the planet, and with good reason…it’s creamy, aromatic, and so satisfying!

Lamb and eggplant tikka masala

My Chicken Tikka Masala was so good I could hardly wait to try other versions. Chicken is the most common, but tikka masala  is also made with lamb, fish, or the Indian cheese, paneer. I planned a vegetarian dish, but at the last minute switched to lamb and eggplant, that combination is so lush. I love curries of all kinds, but Tikka Masala (tikka meaning ‘chunks’ or ‘bits’, and masala meaning a mix of spices)  is a gentler dish, where the spices are more muted and the focus is on large chunks of marinated and then grilled meat. The sauce is tomato based, and the distinctive bright orange color comes from the addition of heavy cream, or, in this case, coconut milk, which I think is a little lighter and balances out the richness of the lamb.

Tikka masala was actually invented in British Indian restaurants, so it’s not authentically Indian, but more of a 20th century fusion dish. If you’re not familiar with Indian food and you want to ease into it, this is a good one to start with.

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I used a dry saute method for the chunks of eggplant, which I love because it intensifies the flavor and avoids the issue of the eggplant soaking up fat or oil like a sponge. In spite of the long list of spices, this dish is very quick to put together, especially if you mix the meat and marinade in the morning, or better yet, the night before. Serve the tikka masala with basmati rice and some yogurt and chutney on the side. It’s pure fall comfort food, with a kick.

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Reader Rave ~

“Today was the second time I made this, but this time I happened to have chicken thighs in the fridge. Just want to say, very nice recipe, had 3 pounds of meat so doubled the tomatoes but tripled the spices, onions and who knows with the egg plant. Loved the marinade/broil of the meat and the dry eggplant saute, really comes out so everything is perfectly cooked. ”  ~ Alfie


Lamb and eggplant tikka masala
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3 from 20 votes

Lamb & Eggplant Tikka Masala

Lamb & Eggplant Tikka Masala ~ tikka masala is probably the most popular Indian dish on the planet, and with good reason...it's creamy, aromatic, and so satisfying!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

for the lamb

  • 1 lb good quality lamb cut in large pieces
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

for the sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 10 cardamom pods crushed
  • 4 small dried hot chilies crushed, seeds and all (adjust to suit your taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 28 oz can of good quality crushed tomatoes you can use whole tomatoes and crush them yourself
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish

Instructions

  • Put the lamb, yogurt, and spices in a bowl and mix until everything is well combined and the lamb is completely coated.. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (or even better, overnight) to marinate.
  • Put the meat on a foil covered baking sheet (leave the yogurt coating on) and put under the broiler for about 10 minutes until the surface starts to char. The lamb will not be completely cooked, it will finish cooking in the sauce. Set the meat aside.
  • For the sauce, heat the 3 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and saute the onions, tomato paste, spices, garlic and ginger and salt for abut 10 minutes, stirring often so it won't scorch.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Meanwhile cut the eggplant in large bite sized chunks. Heat a cast iron skillet (or similar pan) over medium high heat. Add the eggplant (with no oil) to the pan and saute, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the eggplant is softened and browned, but still firm, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk, cilantro, lamb and eggplant to the sauce and cook gently for about 30 minutes. You can partially cover the top if the sauce seems thick.
  • Check the seasonings and adjust if necessary. Garnish with more cilantro, and serve with basmati rice and yogurt..

Cook's notes

The tikka masala will improve with age, so make it ahead of time if you want,
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

 

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22 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Sheila Norton
    February 10, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    5 stars
    This is a lovely recipe! I particularly liked the crushed whole cardamom pods, that gave a bursts of flavor. I did removed the outer pod and used maybe twice as many pods-worth. I used tiny fresh green chiles that I got in my Indian food market in place of the dried ones. I slit them open to release their flavor but left them relatively intact so that my husband could pull them out-he’s less of a hot spicy lover than I am. I used probably 50% more spice than the recipe but wasn’t overwhelming. I did like the fact that I could multi-task broiling the meat/dry toasting the eggplant and making the sauce. It came together nicely.

  • Reply
    Mildrey Martínez
    October 15, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Excuse me, this recipe is for how many people or pax?
    Congrants and Regards

  • Reply
    Alfie Eisenberg
    June 28, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    5 stars
    Today was the second time I made this, but this time I happened to have chicken thighs in the fridge. Just want to say, very nice recipe, had 3 pounds of meat so doubled the tomatoes but tripled the spices, onions and who knows with the egg plant. Loved the marinade/broil of the meat and the dry eggplant saute, really comes out so everything is perfectly cooked. There are some really weak recipes for tikka masala on the net (tried one recently), so really appreciate the good ones! Saving as one of my go to dishes. Can’t wait till I can use my garden veggies for it, well, I did use my garlic and dried peppers from last year.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 28, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      It’s so valuable when readers like you come back to report like this, thanks so much Alfie. One of my daughter’s loves tikka masala, so I’ve made a few versions over the years…you might like my chicken tikka masala, as well: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/chicken-tikka-masala/

  • Reply
    Marion
    October 8, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Hi ! Do you think i could make a version with the slow cooker ? still process with the marinade and the broiling, make the first part of the sauce in the pan and finish with the coconut milk etc in the slow cooker, with the meat and the browned eggplant ?

    you think what ? 2/3 hours on high for the lamb to be tender and shred ?

    Thanks in advance for your response 🙂

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 8, 2016 at 7:53 am

      That should work fine, I think Marion. Depending on your slow cooker, mine seems to run hot, I think 3 hours should work!

  • Reply
    Karen
    November 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Your website is pure heaven for a foodie like me.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 18, 2019 at 10:20 am

      🙂 Thanks!

  • Reply
    Jen
    October 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I thought I posted this comment before but it seems not to be appearing. I am currently marinating the lamb and need to find out what level of heat the stove should be at when sauteing the onions and spices and when you are cooking everything for the 30 minutes? You don’t say but you do say to stir onions so they don’t scorch. Does that mean they should be done on higher? So is medium heat good for both? Please help!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Jen– Medium heat should be fine, everyone’s stove works a little differently, so it’s hard to specify exactly. For the 30 minutes, a gentle simmer is perfect, so probably medium heat as well. Hope this helps!

      • Reply
        Sue
        October 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm

        Also, when I say don’t scorch, it’s more for the spices than the onions. Spices can burn at lower temperatures.

  • Reply
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen
    September 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

    What a gorgeous dish and the colors are so brilliant. My family all loves lamb. Great combination of flavors too.
    Sam

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