Pricepoints: Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala is the classic English post-pub curry and is often proclaimed as the UK's National Dish. However, Tikka Masala is not known in India and was probably invented in the UK in the 1970s by a Pakistani chef in Soho.
The word 'tikka' just means chicken rubbed with spices and cooked in a tandoori oven and 'masala' refers to a spice sauce.
Except for Lidl's version, all samples were fresh from the chiller section of the supermarkets. I tested the meals with a fellow curry fan and we were surprisingly unanimous in our marks. Calories given are per 100g.
Lidl Chicken Tikka Masala (frozen) 550g, 157Kcal, 20pc Chicken, €2.99
Good, rich spicy taste with a little heat. Big firm chicken pieces and good rich flavour and soft, tasty rice. This was the one we kept returning to and it easily beat every other sample. Being frozen should have been a big disadvantage but not in this case. Excellent taste, excellent value. 8/10
Dunnes Stores Chicken Tikka Masala 450g, 119kcal, 28.5pc Chicken, €2.99
Good pieces of chicken with good spice flavours and aroma, including some whole spices. Interior packaging indicated this was made by the same company as Superquinn's but with a different recipe. This was cheaper and much tastier. 7/10
Tesco Chicken Tikka Masala 550g, 160Kcal, 22PC Chicken, €3.69
Good cardamom flavour in the rice, but rather soft. Masala sauce was very creamy (like Korma) and very rich, with big meaty chicken pieces and a mildly spicy flavour. 7/10
Balti House Chicken Tikka Masala 450g, 161kcal, 36pc Chicken, €3.99 (Supervalu)
Good rice, moist and with good spices. Quite mildly spiced masala sauce but with noticeable pepper taste and reasonable-quality chicken pieces. 6.5/10
Aldi Taste The World Chicken Tikka Masala 136kcal, 26pc Chicken, €1.99
Creamy and fairly rich sauce, mild but with some spice noticeable. Rice tastes bland and rather hard. 6/10
Bombay Pantry Chicken Tikka Masala 330g (no rice) no kcal given, 30pc Chicken, €3.99
Good chicken and reasonable rice but this just tasted like mildly spiced tinned tomato soup with bits of chicken. 5/10
Cully & Sully Chicken Tikka Masala 400g, 109Kcal, 23pc Chicken, €3.99
This doesn't include rice but has chickpeas and lots of onion and small chicken pieces. Too sweet. 4.5/10
Superquinn Chicken Tikka Masala 450g 129kcal, 39pc Chicken, €3.99
Good moist rice with whole spices, however this just did not taste good, with soggy chicken and a bland, greasy sauce. 4/10