Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Trader Joe's Shrimp Tikka Masala

I don't know that I've ever had a tikka masala dish that I've disliked. Just from Trader Joe's alone, we've seen chickenpaneer, and vegan varieties, all of which were thumbs up. Shrimp is one of my favorite foods and always has been. As long as it's cooked properly, it's pretty hard to mess up shrimp, so the bar is set pretty high for this dish already. 

Like most of you, we haven't been eating out much lately. So I guess if anything, that lowers the bar a tad and makes us appreciate near-restaurant-quality microwave meals even more than usual. Hopefully we're giving this Shrimp Tikka Masala its fair shake. 

Anyway, Let's dive in.

I feel like they almost wanted to go with a flippable tray, a la those yogurts that come with mix-ins, but with the shrimp and sauce being flipped into the bed of cumin rice instead of cookie bits getting flipped into a bed of yogurt. The tray isn't quite that flexible, so you're left flicking the shrimps one by one into the other side. Fair enough.

There are about 8 or 10 small shrimp swimming around in a red sauce. For a frozen meal, their texture is about what you'd expect. Shrimp doesn't fare particularly well in the microwave, in my opinion, and these specimens were no better or worse than I expected—just a tad more chewy than steamed or fried shrimp would be. 

The sauce is a "mildly spicy tomato sauce" ...and that's what it tastes like. It's not particularly bursting with Indian spices or heat. It's a wee bit more complex and interesting than, say, tomato soup, but it struck me as being significantly less flavorful than any of the previous tikka masala dishes from Trader Joe's.

The rice here isn't the classic basmati rice we see in most of TJ's Indian food. This is "cumin rice." It's plain white rice...with some cumin seeds and coconut oil. So...pretty much just plain white rice.

I polished off the tray easily enough. Never gagged. Never grimaced at the flavor. But it didn't inspire any moments of bliss or euphoria, either. 

While I can't shaft it too badly, I'd put this near the bottom of the tikka masala pack and maybe even near the bottom of the list of Trader Joe's Indian food in general. That's not to say it's bad in any way. There's just a laundry list of other outstanding Indian foods at TJ's that I'll reach for before I pick up this particular selection again. Sonia sat this one out, citing an upset tummy as her reason for non-participation.

$3.49 for the single serving meal. Ready after 5-6 minutes in microwave.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.


  1. What interesting that is actually came all the way from India. Usually the other Tikka Masala products is made in USA (except for Butter chicken which is made in Canada)

    TJ's needs to bottle their amazing tikka masala sauces exact same recipe as the frozen variant.

  2. I agree with Unknown (above). The sauce from the frozen CTM is The Best. Would love to have it bottled.

  3. This is what I have based my CTM recipe off of. If you want to make your own CTM and enjoy the TJ version you might want to give it a shot.

  4. I thought the Shrimp Tikka was delicious! I cooked it in the oven for 20 min at 375 and added a little red pepper to the masala. I am Indian, born in NJ. It reminded me a little of my grandmother’s tomato pickle. I would definitely buy again. The only Trader Joe’s Indian food I dislike is the biriyani. I hope they will come out with a better one!

    1. Thanks for this - no conventional oven instructions on the box, which I found odd. Tonight it's what's for dinner.

  5. I was born in Chennai, India and moved to the states when I was 8. I must say I totally agree with this review. The sauce here is not good and the shrimp are rubbery.

  6. I had this for lunch today and have had terrible heartburn all afternoon. Not on my list of favorites.

  7. Worst food poisoning I’ve ever encountered. Too spicy to reveal spoiled shrimp I guess, but I’ve never been sicker in my life. Avoid this Shrimp Tokka Masala dish and perhaps all other shrimp products from India. 72 hours later I’m still recovering. Don’t take the chance.