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I love chicken Tikka Masala but I’m afraid it doesn’t always like me. If I cut the masala portion in half what can I use in its place? Maybe double the yogurt?

Note: The dinner is a meal kit with the masala sauce provided in a sealed packet. The sauce is in liquid form, not a powder. The amount of sauce is meant to go with 1/2 lb of chicken thigh meat. The meal kit is meant to serve two.

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    Another though about these kits - is it just a sauce packet, or is there a dry seasoning packet as well - I haven't done a tikka masala that way but I have had others like it. In that case a lot of the heat may be in the dry mix.
    – Chris H
    Apr 15 at 12:02
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    Is your problem with spices on the way in or the way out? Apr 15 at 12:58
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    @user3067860 The spices are causing issues such as indigestion and heartburn.
    – tale852150
    Apr 15 at 15:06
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    @ChrisH The sauce is in an ‘all-in-one’ packet, in liquid form. There is no dry seasoning packet in this kit.
    – tale852150
    Apr 15 at 16:04
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    I would just put some yoghurt on the side, as a dip.
    – Strawberry
    Apr 15 at 16:56
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You're thinking along the right lines with using yoghurt. In fact because yoghurt is often used to tone down spice, you might find that you can use more than half the sauce, if you increase the yoghurt.

But you probably wouldn't want to double the yoghurt to make up for the missing sauce. Instead replace the sauce you didn't use with yoghurt. So if the packet contains 200 ml of sauce, and you only use half of it, you'll be short 100 ml, so use an extra 100ml yoghurt. You might find that's a little runny, so might want to use a bit less.

If you have tomato puree/paste or even passata, you could mix some of that into the extra yoghurt. Most tikka masala recipes include some tomato, so this will maintain the flavour without the heat. Puree will have a slight thickening effect compared to yoghurt, while passata will be thinner,unless you simmer it long enough to reduce.

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  • Are you suggesting adding (maybe) tomato sauce or tomato paste to keep the sauce thick and tone down the ‘temperature’ while adding more yogurt? I like that idea!
    – tale852150
    Apr 15 at 11:41
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    @tale852150 not tomato sauce, but tomato paste. It will help with the thickness to some extent, but also I reckon you want to reduce heat without reducing too much flavour, and it will help there, by replacing some of the original overly-hot sauce. If there was an easy way of adding onion, that would be good too, but I can't think of one
    – Chris H
    Apr 15 at 12:01
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    Understood - my understanding is like yours in that in can vary but is usually on the ‘hot’ side versus the ‘mild’ side. What would you suggest as a ‘mild’ alternative - possibly a curry like Korma?
    – tale852150
    Apr 15 at 16:15
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    To me, korma has no heat (my daughter would agree and she doesn't do "spicy"). It's pleasant enough but a different experience. Pasanda is similar in heat but IMO often better in restaurants. Tikka masala is normally described as "medium", along with dhansak, which I'd choose in preference as I like its sweet and sour notes if I don't feel like something really spicy. A toned down tikka masala isn't a bad idea. If you start from scratch or building a sauce using a ready-made paste and fresh ingredients you can reduce just the spices to taste. It is of course more work.
    – Chris H
    Apr 15 at 16:43
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    I wouldn't be sure that yoghurt helps with the problems the OP asked about. Yes, it will make the spices less aggressive in the mouth, but it won't remove any of the capsaicin, so after the stomach it'll probably behave the same whether or not any yoghurt was in the food. In that sense the yoghurt might actually give a treacherous sense of safety. – However, @tale852150 you should also consider that it's maybe not the spices at all that are causing the digestion problems. It's generally difficult to diagnose what food item caused such problems, since the effects can have quite a delay. Apr 15 at 20:19

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