Tikka Time

Happy tuesday again people. Last month I took a look at Mahi Fine Foods’ Lime & Coriander Rub & Marinade, only to find it absolutely heatless.

It wasn’t bad but it did leave me scrambling for something else to feature. It was a mistake that I won’t be making twice.

As I sit down to write about their Tikka Marinade, I can assure you that I’ve already read through the ingredients at least five times:

Water, Tomato Paste, Onions, Red Chilli Paste, Garlic Paste, Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Ginger Paste, Citric Acid, Ground Paprika, Yoghurt, Mixed Spices, Beetroot and Stabilizer: Xanthan Gum.

This one has chilli in it and, if the taste is anything to go by, it’s got a fair bit at that.

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Eaten straight from the spoon, which clearly isn’t what the company intended, this marinade has a very slow but far from low

3.5/10

Heat

One that even exceeds that of the first of their marinades and isn’t too far below their Green Savi.

To be completely frank, I would not give this product the medium rating that I see on its label. Not unless it turns out to be much milder in cooking.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Let’s take a brief look at that label before I assess its flavour and usage.

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This one’s rather different in design from the others. Its jar is the same but its label is mostly black and subtly adorned with the fancy mahi “m” all over.

The company’s heart logo has been moved out from behind their name and over to the right, with a traditional british crown balancing it out on the left. Perhaps in reference to britain’s imperial past being what brought curry to the west or perhaps simply because the tikka masala curry (as opposed to tikka seasoning itself) is typically considered a british invention.

Either way, though, they’ve clearly gone out of their way to make this marinade look fancy. They’ve added stars over their name and diamond lines between them and the “fine foods” tagline below. Then they’ve outlined the whole extended logo to look like a restaurant sign and even curved the label around it.

And, while most of the text here is white to stand out against the black background, the word “Tikka”, the set of scales on which it rests and the regally curled leaves or feathers to either side are all a deep shade of orange that closely resembles the sauce inside.

It’s a completely different vibe from what we’ve seen previously but there’s some reason for that. This is from a separate sub-range of barbecue marinades, presumably packaged in black to reflect the smokier, more char-inducing cooking methods that they’re meant for.

And it’s worth noting that tikka is, in fact, just the indian equivalent of barbecue seasoning – A set of strong flavoured spices to coat meat in before cooking it in or on a coal-fired oven or grill.

“Tikka” and “Tandoori” may seem a little odd alongside “Wings”, “Chops” and “Fish” but that’s why they’re a part of the range.

Moving on from the product’s appearance, however, I mentioned that tikka was traditionally made up of strong spices and Mahi definitely provide a strong flavour with this marinade. A strong flavour that is, too my dismay, mostly salt.

So much salt, in fact, that it wasn’t just the chilli burning my tongue when I tried that whole spoonful. It was the dehydration, too.

This marinade was just as awful to try alone as its peri peri counterpart but, like I said near the beginning of this review, that isn’t how it was meant to be eaten.

No, Mahi’s Tikka Marinade is meant primarily for smothering chicken in and leaving in the fridge for several hours so that the flavours infuse. It’s supposed to be a light but thorough coating that seeps into the meat, not a pour over sauce or the bulk of any meal.

Eaten that way, the salt content only serves as seasoning to bring out the best in your chicken. Or whatever else you coat in it.

Beef and lamb are also traditional but I personally found paneer to be more than just a great meat substitute with this one.

There’s no vinegar to counter the fat this time but the salt brings out the cheese’s flavour, which in turn pairs beautifully with everything else that the marinade has going on.

A blend of unspecified red chilli, which I would guess is either bird’s eye or something similar, and paprika largely overpower its tomato base to provide a main flavour of red, non-bell pepper, while the garlic, onions and ginger all play more of a supporting role, rounding it out into a dry red curry flavour. One that’s then softened a little by the marinade’s yoghurt content.

That’s not the only thing that the yoghurt’s going to soften, though. When used on meats as this marinade is intended, the yoghurt’s “friendly” bacteria, along with the small amount of lactic acid that it contains, should go a long way to breaking down any larger protein chains, shortening them and tenderising the meat.

It’s a traditional indian trick and one that works without a high vinegar content. And sure, it’ll take a little while but remember, you want to be marinading your chicken for 4-12 hours anyway for maximum flavour.

I wasn’t expecting much after my initial tasting but everything that I’ve made with this marinade has been great. It even transformed my leftover stew into a completely different and much more exciting dish.

And yes, its salt came through a little strongly in that but it wasn’t a big problem for me and, as I’ve said, it’s far less obvious when the product’s used as intended.

When used properly, this marinade makes for some really tasty morsels on the high end of what I’d call a

2.5/10

Heat

and it is, without any doubt, my favourite Mahi product so far.

2 thoughts on “Tikka Time

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