This easy Fish Tikka Masala is a quick seafood curry that’s filled with comforting and warming spices, a creamy tomato sauce, and spicy sardines.
This fish tikka masala post is sponsored by King Oscar.
If you could only choose one food to eat for the rest of your life– what would it be?
What’s the first type of food you reach for when you’ve had a bad day? The first kind of take-out food you want when you’re too tired to cook (or when your attempt to cook was… not good)?
For me, the answer is always– always– Indian curry.
Happily, the husband caters to my food whims– and plays along.
When we backpacked through Italy and Bulgaria– we stopped for curry at least once a week.
And when we drove cross-country through America’s heartland?
He mapped out the Indian, Pakistani, and Nepalese restaurants along our route.
If you too find yourself craving creamy, spiced bowls of curry– this Fish Tikka Masala is an easy and delicious dinner. And it’s fast– letting you get dinner on the table in just under 30 minutes.
Want more sardine recipes ideas? Read this: How to Eat Canned Sardines
Fish Tikka Masala: Why Use Sardines?
My not-so-secret ingredients in this quick fish curry are sardines. Why sardines?
Sometimes when I add fish to curry, I use a mild fish like cod. (Case in point– this Cod Curry with Pumpkin!) Milder fish adds a sweet flavor without competing with the stronger flavors of the spices.
BUT– mild fish isn’t always the answer.
Sometimes sardines are the answer.
If you’ve ever browsed through the sardine section at the grocery store, you’ll see sardines packed in all types of spicy sauces and tomato sauces.
And that is because– no surprise here– sardines, spicy flavors, and tomatoes are FABULOUS together.
For this Fish Tikka Masala, I’m using the spicy, chili-oil infused Spanish Style Sardines from King Oscar. These sardines perfectly complement the spices in this curry, and add the perfect amount of “oomph” to the sauce.
Want more canned fish tips? Check out this Ultimate Guide to Canned Fish.
Love sardines? Try these too: Mini Sardine Fish Cakes, Greek Salad (Horiatiki), Pasta con le Sarde, and Fish Balls: Albondigas de Pescado.
What Spices Will I Need?
To make this easy seafood curry, you’ll need mustard seeds and garam masala. Both should be relatively easy to find in your usual supermarket spice aisle.
How to Make Fish Tikka Masala
First, decide if you’re serving any type of rice or naan with your curry. If you go with rice, go ahead and start cooking it first.
Next, pour a little olive oil in a large pan– I use a wok– and add the mustard seeds. Heat the oil, and the seeds will start popping. Then, add some diced onions, a little salt, and the garam masala.
Once the onions soften, add canned tomatoes, and let them simmer for a few minutes. Then, add the milk and the sardines. Let everything simmer for a few minutes– and then you’re ready to go!
I like to add a dollop of yogurt and some cilantro to my finished seafood curry, and then dig in while everything is still nice and hot.
What’s your favorite kind of curry? Let me know in the comments!
Want more INDIAN recipes? Try these:
Fish Tikka Masala with Sardines
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 15 ounce can tomatoes (diced or crushed)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tins sardines (~4oz) packed in chili + oil, oil discarded King Oscar Spanish Style Sardines Recommended
- ¼ cup plain yogurt (optional)
- fresh cilantro (optional garnish)
- To serve: naan, jasmine, or basmati rice (Use cauliflower rice for low carb option)
- Pour oil into a large pan or wok. Add the mustard seeds, and heat over medium heat until the seeds begin to pop (2-3 minutes).
- Add the diced onion, garam masala, smoked paprika, and salt. Stir onions until they begin to soften (3-4 minutes).
- Add tomatoes. Cover pan, and let the tomatoes simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the milk and sardines. Simmer another 5 minutes.
- Taste curry, and add more salt if necessary.
- Serve with a dollop of yogurt and fresh cilantro (optional.) Curry pairs well with rice or naan.
- This curry is best served right away, but leftovers can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one day.
- Use unflavored sardines. Add 1 tsp red chili flakes
- Make it creamier: Swap half the milk for heavy cream.
- Make it spicier: Add 1 tsp red pepper flakes and/or ¼ tsp cayenne pepper when you add the garam masala.