Taste test - Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

From top left to bottom right: McLeish Brothers, Lidl, Mother India, Tesco, Caledonian Curry Company and Marks & Spencer

McLeish Brothers ●

60-62 South Bridge, Edinburgh, 0131 558 1400, £3.49
Although this has the most meat, quantity has won over quality here, with dry, crumbly chicken, and an odd, overly sweet sauce. It inexplicably contains mango chutney, overpowering any other flavours and most of the texture - in fact, it's like a korma that's been mango-ed. Surprising, but not in a good way.

Lidl ●●●●

Various outlets across Scotland, www.lidl.co.uk, £1.99
While the overall taste was let down a little by low quality of the meat, and a non-too-appealing grease puddle, this curry won out with its great flavour. Just the right balance of herbs, spices and tomato, with enough kick to remind you this is not a korma. Not too thick or creamy, and thrifty to boot.

Mother India ●●●●●

Outlets in Edinburgh and Glasgow, www.motherindia.com, £5.90
This Butter Chicken dish was put in as a kind of control for the test, to see what a real takeaway curry should taste like. It didn't disappoint. You can really taste quality, marinated meat and a delicious combination of just the right seasoning. The creamy, rich sauce, make it just hot enough, and we have just what a curry should be.

Tesco ●●

Various outlets across Scotland, www.tesco.co.uk, £2.99
A bright orange coloured curry is always a sign of dubious things to come. While it has a pleasant creamy texture and a spicy whiff, its watery meat and omission of anything resembling a herb, leaves a lot to be desired. It simply lacks flavour, a fact badly disguised by a free hand approach to chilli powder distribution and its blinding orange visual.

Caledonian Curry Company ●●●

South Bonar Estate, Sutherland, 01863 766025, www.caledoniancurry.co.uk, £4.95
As you can expect from local, hand prepared gourmet dishes, the chicken here is top quality. Sadly, the misguided lack of any tomato left a meaty, gravy-like taste, and a watery, grainy sauce. You really taste the different spices and herbs, and the quality of production, but it's somehow missing that sweeter kick of a great tikka.

Marks & Spencer ●●

Various outlets across Scotland, www.marksandspencer.com, £2.99
The array of colours looks inviting, despite the small size, but once it hits your taste buds a familiar blandness washes over them. It will have you running for the garam masala as there's little to taste other than questionable chicken covered in tomatoes, resulting in a ketchup-like after taste. Its saving graces are its looks and texture, but that doesn't say much.


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