makahani vs tikka masala

Makhani vs Tikka Masala: 12 Key Comparison Points 

Makhani and tikka masala are two of the most popular Indian dishes. It would be hard to come across an Indian restaurant that didn’t serve these delicious dishes.

In this article, we will compare each dish to find out how they differ from one another. 

Makhani vs tikka masala; round one, let’s go! 

What is the Difference Between Makhani and Tikka Masala?

The most notable difference between the two is that a makhani has a silky, runny texture, whereas tikka masala is slightly thicker and almost velvety in consistency. 

Another major difference is that a true authentic makhani does not contain onion, whereas a tikka masala does. 

However, they do have some similarities. For example, they are more or less the same reddish/orange color, and both can be eaten with meat or other additions such as paneer/tofu/vegetables, etc. 

Both dishes are also popular choices at Indian restaurants and are always available at celebratory events such as weddings, birthdays, or festivals. 

Makhani vs Tikka Masala: One is Indian, and One is British

So, which is which? A makhani is Indian, and a tikka masala is British. Both dishes are extremely popular due to their mild flavor and creamy texture. To find out more about the fascinating history behind each of these dishes, keep reading! 

Neither Dish is Vegan 

A traditional makhani includes butter and cream, and a tikka masala contains yogurt and cream. Both of which are animal products. 

However, it is possible to create a vegan version by using dairy-free or plant-based products. The vegan market is more popular than ever in this day and age, so you will be spoilt for choice. 

Check out this article about butter masala vs tikka masala, and see if you could make your own vegan version. 

Both Dishes Are High in Calories

We don’t want to burst your bubble, but there are around 270 calories in one small serving of tikka masala and the same goes for a makhani. This is before you have added any delicious side dishes too!

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite Indian dish once in a while. Just take it easy on the naan bread!

A Makhani Contains Butter and Cream 

A makhani gravy is much creamier than a tikka masala due to the addition of butter and heavy cream. In fact, the word ‘makhani’ actually means buttery. 

A tikka masala contains no butter and cream is optional but not compulsory. Curries with a creamy base, such as a korma, are always best sellers at Indian restaurants. 

Take a look at this article to see the difference between korma vs tikka masala.

The Spice Blend Is Different 

If you didn’t already know, masala is a blend of spices used in any particular dish. In this case, the masala is used to coat the chicken, which is then cooked in a tomato gravy base. 

To give you an idea of what kinds of spices are included in each dish, we have put together a table below. Let’s take a look at this makhani vs tikka masala comparison.

Spices used in a makhani Spices used in a tikka masala 
Coriander seeds Ground coriander
Cinnamon Garam masala 
Green cardamom Turmeric 
Black peppercornsPaprika
ClovesCayenne pepper

Tikka Masala Is Spicier 

If we look at the table above, it is easy to see that tikka masala includes cayenne pepper, paprika, and garam masala. All of which are notably spicy. Garam masala actually means ‘hot spice’, so there really is no argument as to which is spicier. 

Tikka masala is not the spiciest curry of all, though. If you love the added heat, our article about vindaloo vs tikka masala may be of interest!

Both Are Popular Dishes 

 It is not uncommon for individuals to order a tikka masala or makhani when dining out. Both are popular choices due to their delicious gravy base and sumptuous chicken pieces (if ordering with chicken). 

Makhani dishes are very mild, so they tend to be a popular choice with children. 

Makhani Sauce vs Tikka Masala: The History 

The makhani recipe derives from Punjab, now in Pakistan, and first came to light around the 1940s. While tomato puree and cream were not used in the original recipe, it did include yogurt, which was used as a souring agent. 

The story of tikka masala is rather different and quite a nice story, to say the least. Legend has it that the creation of tikka masala happened in the 1970s in Glasgow, Scotland. It is said that when dining in a Glaswegian Indian restaurant known as ‘Shish Mahal’, a customer made a complaint that the chicken they had been served was too dry. 

The chef then took it upon himself to create a gravy base using tomato soup and cream. This was the birthing of the tikka masala we all know and love today. Fascinating, isn’t it? 

Take a look at this video to find out more. 

What is less spicy, makhani or tikka masala?

As discussed above, a makhani is less spicy and is a firm favorite for young children who enjoy Indian food but without the spice factor. 

Makhani and tikka masala are usually served with a choice of rice and delicious bread including the following:

How is Each Dish Served?

  • Basmati rice 
  • Jeera rice
  • Steamed rice 
  • Roti 
  • Naan bread 

An Indian curry like makhani or chicken tikka masala can be served with meat or vegetarian choices such as paneer or lentils. 

Makhani vs Tikka Masala: How Can I Preserve Them?

One great thing about Indian cooking is that you can double or triple up on ingredients to make a huge batch and save it for later. 

The best way to preserve any curry is to spoon portions into airtight containers. You can either refrigerate or freeze depending on how quickly it will be consumed. 

Curry can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, and if you choose to freeze it, it will last even longer. If freezing, be sure to mark the container with the date and consume within 3 months.  

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