Recipe: 30-Minute Halloumi Tikka Masala

Okay, so I’ve got the perfect weeknight curry for you all today that is naturally vegetarian, really filling, and perfect if, like me, you’re self-isolating somewhere far, far away from your nearest Indian takeaway: Halloumi Tikka Masala. Squeaky, salty, melty pieces of golden fried halloumi are tossed in a quick, creamy tikka masala sauce which is delicious served over some pilau-style rice. It is rich, hearty and really addictive.

I started making this with halloumi as it is a long life item I seem to always be able to stock up on each week when I do the family Waitrose shop for food and other essentials, but this simple cheats tikka masala sauce is also great to fold chickpeas (for a vegan option) or griddled pieces of paneer into, or even leftover pieces from a roast chicken (to make sure nothing goes to waste!) Also, I’ve been using double cream here because it is what we’ve always got a little leftover of in the fridge (my Mum makes the most delicious homemade ice cream but we can’t get the right size pots for a batch at the moment!) but I have written the recipe with single cream as it will have the same effect and is much healthier! If you’ve got coconut milk open in the fridge, use that instead!

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30-Minute Halloumi Tikka Masala

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian


A cheats twist on a classic chicken tikka masala made veggie with squeaky cubes of griddled halloumi, ready in just 30 minutes!


  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • thumb sized piece fresh ginger
  • 1 small onion
  • generous glug light oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 350ml (1 1/2 cups) passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 1 x 250g (9 oz) halloumi 
  • 3 tbsp single cream (pouring cream)
  • 1 x quantity pilau-style rice, to serve
  • small handful roughly chopped fresh coriander, to serve


  1. Peel and blitz together the garlic, ginger and onion together in a mini chopper or small food processor to make a paste.
  2. Heat a generous splash of oil in a medium saucepan set over a medium high heat. Add the paste along with the salt and cook for 8-10 minutes until translucent, fragrant and only just starting to turn golden.
  3. Stir in the spices and cook for a further minute, before doing the same with the tomato puree. Stir in the passata, and turn the heat down to medium. Allow the sauce to blip away for 10 more minutes.
  4. Cube the halloumi. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan without any oil in over a high heat and add the cheese, cooking for a few minutes before turning each piece over until they’re nice and golden.
  5. Stir the cream into the tikka masala sauce, followed by the griddled halloumi cubes. Serve with pilau rice and fresh coriander.