tikka masala pierogies

Orange-yellow tikka masala pierogis arranged neatly in a curved line around a small bowl of tikka masala sauce. the pierogi in the front has been sliced down the middle and dipped in sauce. the whole platter is garnished with cilantro.
a close cropped shot of an oval platter with tikka masala pierogis on it. a dollop of greek yogurt sits on top of the platter, which is garnished with cilantro. a small measuring spoon with a tikka masala spice blend is on the counter in front of the platter, as is a bunch of cilantro.
an overhead shot of an oval platter of tikka masala pierogis topped with a dollop of greek yogurt sauce and garnished with cilantro. a small bowl with two red chilies and cardamom pods sits to the left.

That’s right, I said tikka masala pierogies. A rich, Indian-spiced creamy tomato sauce, normally served with rice and chicken or lamb gets mixed here with mashed potatoes and tucked inside traditional Polish dumplings.

A few months ago I shared my recipe for dal pierogis, stuffed with a blend of mashed potatoes and an Indian lentil dish called dal from the Indian-ish cookbook. After finishing the last batch of those, I got to thinking about what else I could tuck inside pierogis to stash in the freezer for future meals. Since my favorite store-bought freezer meal of all time are those Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tikka masala trays, well… you can guess where I’m going with this.

The tikka masala I eat most often comes from Trader Joe’s, but the best chicken tikka masala I’ve ever had was a few years ago at Maneet Chauhan’s Nashville restaurant Chauhan Ale & Masala House (which also serves an excellent tandoori chicken poutine). Maneet is such a powerhouse chef, and I love love love to watch her cook. She’s a frequent judge on Chopped, but if you ever get a chance to watch her behind the stove, it’s so worth it. (She was a whirlwind of color, sparkles, and bold flavors on Food Network’s recent mini-series Tournament of Champions which you should definitely check out if you’re into TV food competitions.)

I mention Maneet because if I could wave a magic wand and use any tikka masala sauce in these pierogies, I wanted it to be hers. Luckily, she’d lent variations on a chicken tikka masala recipe to both Food Network and Rachel Ray, tailored to the sites’ respective audiences. I also turned to another fave Food Network chef, Aarti Sequeria, whose chicken tikka masala recipe has much lengthier ingredient list to better understand some of what gives tikka masala its signature flavor. I borrowed bits and pieces from both of their recipes, scaled everything down, simplified here and there, and eventually found my preferred blend for the tikka masala mashed potato pierogi filling.

I used my usual vegan pierogi dough here (see recipe notes for how to make the filling vegan), with the addition of turmeric to give it that bright yellow-orange color. Unlike the dal pierogies which are bite-sized, the tikka masala flavor works better in pierogis that are twice the size.

The filling is simple, too. Just a small can of tomato sauce cooked down with with freshly grated ginger and garlic, then mixed with a blend of spices — turmeric, coriander, cumin, cardamom, a pinch of cinnamon too. A few tablespoons of greek yogurt are a crucial addition to the mix, which then gets mashed together with a potato. You can use instant mashed potatoes if that’s all you’ve got, but one large russet potato will definitely be enough here and is easy enough to cook in a microwave. The final touch before you shape the pierogies is a completely not optional dusting of lime zest over the filling once you shape it. That zesty hint of lime flavor will take this from “this tastes like tikka masala” to “this is tikka masala” in just a few swipes of a microplane.

how to shape pierogies

The pierogies pictured below are the smaller dal pierogies, but the process is the same. The tikka masala pierogies will just be slightly larger.

1
First, chill your filling and roll it into balls.
2
Then, roll out your dough and cut it into circles.
3
Place the filling in the middle of a dough round and fold the dough around it, pinching at the top.
4
Continue pinching around both sides to seal shut.
5
Do one last set of pinches to make sure it’s all sealed and press out any air bubbles.
6
Finally, gently flatten it into a half moon shape.
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pierogi troubleshooting:

  • If your dough is too dry: You might need to use a little bit of water to get the dough to stick to itself and seal. Just dip your pinkie finger in a small bowl of water and run it along the outer edge of the pierogi before pinching.
  • If the filling squishes out: Pinch firmly to seal the dough to itself and push any excess filling out. The important thing is that the dough sticks to itself and seals tightly.
  • If you’re having trouble pinching the pierogies shut: Stretch out the edges of your dough rounds slightly before putting the filling in the center.

a few quick notes:

  • I tested cooking these both by pan frying and boiling and they’re definitely better pan-fried. You really want that crispy texture on the dough with the smooth, rich tomato filling.
  • If you want to serve tikka masala pierogis with a tikka masala dipping sauce, simply make double the amount of the tikka masala sauce and save half for later.
  • To freeze: Arrange in rows on a sheet pan dusted with corn starch. Freeze until mostly set, then transfer to an airtight container. You can cook these right from frozen, just add a minute or two to the cooking time. You may need to reduce the heat slightly as they cook if the outsides are getting too dark before the filling is fully warmed through.
  • For more on the history and origins of tikka masala, this article is a fantastic, eye-opening resource.

tikka masala pierogis

These tikka masala pierogies are inspired by two warm and cozy comfort foods: Indian-spiced tikka masala and Polish potato-stuffed pierogies.
Yield: 30-40 pierogies
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time7 mins
Dough resting time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 7 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Polish
Keyword: dumplings, pierogies, tomato sauce, turmeric
Servings: 30 pierogies
Author: The Practical Kitchen

Ingredients

Pierogi dough

  • 2 cups AP flour (240g)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional, for color)
  • TBSP olive oil (or ghee)
  • 2/3 cup hot water (163g)

Pierogi filling

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes (1½ lb russet potato, cooked, peeled, and mashed)
  • 4 TBSP butter (divided)
  • ¼ inch fresh ginger, grated (or add 1/8 tsp ginger with the other spices)
  • 1 large garlic clove (or two small/medium cloves)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • tsp cumin
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch cardamom
  • 3 TBSP greek yogurt (preferably 5% whole milkfat or higher)
  • 1 TBSP vegetable better than bouillon (paste, not a cube)
  • 1 lime (for zesting)
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Pierogi dough

  • Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, and pour the water and oil into the center. Use a fork to whisk the water mixture, slowly incorporating more and more flour from the sides of the bowl into the center. When a dough begins to form switch to a bowl scraper, wooden spoon, or your hands and continue mixing and kneading the dough until it's smooth and slightly tacky.
    Dust with more flour if needed, or use damp hands to knead if the dough is dry.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and let rest, covered, at room temp for 1 hour before rolling. If making ahead, let the dough rest, wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours.

Pierogi filling

  • Pierce potato (or potatoes) 4-5 times per side with a fork. Place in a shallow bowl of water in the microwave and cook 5 minutes on high. Flip potato(es) over and cook an additional 5 minutes. Carefully remove from microwave and strain out the water.
    When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still slightly warm, peel off the skin and cut them into rough 2" slices.
    Place in a medium sized bowl along with 2 TBSP butter and mash until mostly smooth. Set aside.
  • Combine turmeric, coriander, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan melt 2 TBSP butter over medium heat until it starts to bubble and fizz. Add minced garlic and ginger and stir, cooking to soften, about 1 minute, then add the spice blend from the previous step and stir until combined.
  • Add the tomato sauce and continue stirring to evenly incorporate all the ingredients. When the sauce is one uniform color, add the greek yogurt and stir again until no visible white streaks of yogurt remain.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and adjust spices to taste.
  • Pour the sauce over the mashed potatoes along with the vegetable bouillon paste and mash until fully combined and cohesive with no visible dark streaks of sauce or light streaks of potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Chill for at least 20 minutes before scooping.

shaping pierogies

  • Portion the chilled filling out into 2 tsp balls using a cookie scoop. Use a microplane to lightly dust the scooped filling with lime zest.
  • Divide the pierogi dough in half. Cover the half you aren't working so it doesn't dry out.
    On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it's ⅛" thick. It should be thin, but not so thin as to be translucent. Use a 2¾" round cutter to cut circles out of the dough.
    Save the scraps to the side — you can gather them back into a ball and re-roll them once after letting them rest for 30 mins.
  • Hold one dough circle in your non-dominant hand. Place a round of the filling in the center. Pinch the dough closed at the top, then pinch down the sides to seal shut. Flatten the pierogi into a half moon shape, and transfer to a sheet pan while you make the rest.
  • Freeze for later on a sheet pan, or pan-fry immediately to serve.
    To pan fry: Heat 1-2 TBSP oil in a non-stick skillet. Cook the pierogies approx 3-4 mins per side until golden brown and the filling is warmed through. Serve with additional tikka masala sauce or with a lime-yogurt dipping sauce.

Notes

  • Once you combine the tikka masala sauce with the mashed potatoes, if the mixture seems dry you can add an additional 1-2 TBSP greek yogurt. 
  • To make this vegan use full-fat coconut milk instead of heavy cream, and use olive oil or vegan butter in place of butter.
  • To freeze: Arrange in rows on a sheet pan dusted with corn starch. Freeze until mostly set, then transfer to an airtight container. You can cook these right from frozen, just add a minute or two to the cooking time. You may need to reduce the heat slightly as they cook if the outsides are getting too dark before the filling is fully warmed through.
  • If you want extra tikka masala sauce for dipping, just double the tikka masala sauce from the filling. Half goes in the potatoes, half gets saved for later.
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Alex

I actually make my own as well! I randomly looked this up and couldn’t believe somebody else does the same thing, although my recipe is different. You’re awesome

Vasu

Hmmm…if u fried them, they would be samosas.