2 onions, peeled and quartered (I used one red and one white)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup, roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup mint, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon and zest
1/2 cup unsalted almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp turmeric
3 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
FOR THE MASALA SAUCE:
2/3 to 1 cup tikka masala paste (less paste to keep it more mild)
3 cups milk
1/2 cup cream (to make vegan/whole30/paleo compliant, use coconut milk and water to equal 3/12 cups of liquid)
8 oz tomato sauce
2 tbsp cooking fat such as coconut oil/ghee/vegetable oil
FOR GARAM MASALA:
2 tbsp coriander
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp allspice berries
2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp green cardamom pods
2-3 black cardamom pods
MAKE THE GARAM MASALA. In a dry pan, over high heat, toast all the spices for the garam masala until fragrant, 2-3 minutes tossing occasionally to prevent burning. Please in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder. Store tightly covered at room temperature for up to 1 year.
TOAST THE ALMONDS AND COCONUT. In the same dry pan, toast the almonds and coconut until the coconut becomes golden brown and releases a nutty fragrance. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
PUREE ALL TIKKA MASALA INGREDIENTS. Place the toasted almonds, coconut, and all remaining ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you have a mostly smooth paste. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to three weeks and in the freezer for up to six months.
MAKE THE MASALA SAUCE: Heat cooking fat in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once fat is heated, add 2/3 to a full cup of the tikka masala paste, depending on your spice preference. Saute until the paste is fully cooked and begins to separate from the fat, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add milk and cream, or coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add grilled chicken/tofu/paneer if desired*.
Serve with white rice and/or naan.
*if adding chicken, marinate cubed chicken in 1/3 cup tikka masala paste for at least 1/2 hour and grill or cook stovetop until chicken is thoroughly cooked.