Tikka masala recipe with meatballs + 5 food styling tips

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Recently you were able to read what Eric’s ultimate photo tips are for a beautiful food photo. He mainly talked about exposure and aperture. These tips will go a long way, but don’t forget the presentation, that’s why I’m now sharing my 5 best styling tips with you.

I can imagine that you don’t have three large cupboards full of crockery, trays, cutlery and props like us. Our collection has grown considerably in recent years and every time I see a beautiful plate or rug somewhere in a store or online, I have to buy it. It’s almost an addiction. But you can also get along with a few basic props. For example, put 2 plates on top of each other or photograph from the ground or the garden table.

Also this time I took the new Indian Tikka Masala from Knorr Wereldspecials as a starting point. Tasty and fast, because this authentic dish and a creamy sauce with spices such as cumin, curry and coriander can be on the table within 30 minutes. And with this Tikka Masala I can show you how you can make a dish in a sauce look very tasty. And it is certainly not a punishment to eat the dish again.

I really love this tasty Indian classic. This time I literally gave it my own twist. I made my own meatballs instead of chicken and a coleslaw as a side dish. As you can see I also got creative with the rice and put it in a bowl and then flipped it. Of course I also share my recipe of this Tikka Masala 2.0.

Recipe Tikka Masala with meatballs


1 x Knorr Tikka Masala
300 gr minced beef (cc)
1 tomato
1 red onion
1 apple
150 gr white cabbage, finely chopped
A few sprigs of fresh coriander or parsley
4 tablespoons (skimmed) yogurt
Salt and pepper
Optional: breadcrumbs


Cook the rice according to the package. Meanwhile, put the minced meat in a bowl and add half of the bag of dry spice mix and mix through. Add a little breadcrumbs if needed to make the mixture firmer. Then make balls of it, about 12 to 15 pieces.

Put the balls in a pan with a dash of oil or butter and fry them until brown on all sides. Add the finely chopped onion and fry for a while. Add the curry paste to the meatballs and shortly afterwards add 150 ml of water (the package states 200 ml), the chopped tomato and the rest of the spice mix. Let this simmer for about 7 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the white cabbage with 3 tablespoons of yogurt, a pinch of salt and pepper. Cut the apple into cubes (add a little lemon juice if you want to take another picture, check!) and mix with the white cabbage.

Finally, stir a tablespoon of yogurt into the curry sauce with meatballs. Lightly toast the almonds from the package (not necessary but nicer). Garnish the Tikka Masala with the almonds and some fresh coriander or parsley. Serve with the rice and coleslaw and at the table!

5 x food styling tips

1. Garnish

What makes your photo much nicer and fresher is the garnish. A few basil leaves, a spoonful of sour cream in the soup or some nuts or red pepper over a dish give an extra tasty touch. Provide contrast in the colors here. It is also often nice to put a sprig of herbs or some nuts next to the plate. But don’t worry too much, the focus should be on the court.

2. Natural shine and color

I never use gloss spray or unnatural ingredients to make a photo more beautiful. That would be a shame because the dishes we photograph for LeukRecepten are also our dinner. And taste is more important than a nice photo I think. I do sometimes use a little olive oil to give a piece of meat or vegetables some extra shine, especially if we have been photographing for a while. I use a baking brush to spread this on but you can also spray.

Some ingredients discolor quickly, such as avocado, apple or banana. I sprinkle this beforehand with a little lemon juice to prevent discolouration.

3. Step by step

We often shoot in steps. I first start with a photo of the whole and only then cut or scoop something out of it. For example an oven dish or a cake. I also only mix a salad at the last minute. This way you always have a good photo if you regret it. Because once you’ve cut or scooped something out of it, it’s hard to go back.

4. Choose the right props

Some dishes look better in a bowl than on a plate or vice versa. I usually present a dish in a sauce in a bowl. Thin sauce often runs out on a flat plate, which gives an ugly result. Also place, for example, beautiful cutlery, a glass or a cloth under or next to the plate. This makes it a lot cozier and more attractive. My favorite stores to shop for props are Dille & Kamille, Zara Home or at a vintage store. We often use wooden planks in different colors as a substrate. We painted these ourselves. There are also vinyl surfaces available that look just like real wood, you can order these via Etsy and also take up less space. Also try a light marble stone as a base.

5. Contrast between dish and surface

For me, justice must always be central. That’s why I never use too bold colors and backgrounds. And a brown sauce on a brown plate doesn’t stand out either. That’s why I prefer to use white or light plates. But sometimes it is also nice to present, for example, white rice or pasta on a dark plate, as in the photos above. In any case, provide some contrast.

I hope you enjoyed reading it and that my tips are useful. If you have any questions or have a good tip of your own, share it below on my blog.

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Source: Leukerecepten by leukerecepten-nl.
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