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How To Make Chicken Tikka Masala

I learned how to make chicken tikka masala at some of the best UK curry houses. Now you can make it too!

This Chicken tikka masala recipe is my kids’ all time favourite curry. They aren’t into spicy food so this and chicken korma are often on our evening menu.

My recipe is the result of many visits to curry house kitchens. I have watched it being made many times and of course made it myself hundreds of times more.

If you are a chicken tikka masala fan, this one is probably the best out there. It’s a scaled down version of the chicken tikka masala recipe in my cookbooks ‘The Curry Guy’ and ‘The Curry Guy Bible’.

In my cookbooks, the curry recipes were written to serve 4. This is a curry house portion which serves 1 – 2 people.

My chicken tikka masala recipe is not as sweet as some. I don’t personally care for overly sweet curries but if that’s what you like, add more sugar. That will do the job.

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry

Just like the recipe in my best selling cookbooks. Try this restaurant style curry at home.

Is chicken tikka masala Indian or British?

I get asked often in my curry classes how chicken tikka masala came to be in the first place.

Chicken tikka masala, like most of the curry house curries made famous in the UK, are different to what you would expect to eat when in India

That said, the past few times I visited India, I found chicken tikka masala on the menus. Indian food made its way to the UK and we sent it back again with a British touch. Many chefs in India are now learning how to make BIR (British Indian restaurant) style curries for tourists and the curious.

The origin of chicken tikka masala…

There are many stories about the origin of chicken tikka masala. Some say that it is simply a curry house version of the world famous butter chicken which became popular in New Delhi back in the 50s. This could be true as the two curries are quite similar.

Another theory is that it was developed in a curry house in Glasgow. The story goes that a customer sent his chicken curry back because he found it two dry.

 

Wishing to please, the chef added tomato soup and cream to the curry. Those were the days before the essential base curry sauce  which is now used at all curry houses and in this recipe. The customer loved it and the curry was added to their menu.

There are many other stories and the real truth of its origin will probably never be known. One thing is certain… people love it worldwide now.

What is the difference between this chicken tikka masala and other recipes?

Most Indian cookbooks and blogs show how to make chicken tikka masala using more authentic Indian cooking methods.

Finely chopped onions are fried and water or stock added instead of using the base sauce.

Although this does make a good curry, it’s nothing like the restaurant style chicken tikka masalas you find at curry houses.

Using a base sauce is essential for getting the correct flavour and sauce texture.

Preparing Ahead

All of the authentic Indian restaurant style curry recipes on my site use a base curry sauce. My ‘go to’ recipe is here.

PRE-COOKED CHICKEN
Most restaurants use tandoori style chicken for chicken tikka masala. Here is my recipe.

Personally, I think this one needs to be made with tandoori chicken! If you prefer spicier curries like me, this sauce is delicious heated up some with fresh chopped green chillies and/or chilli powder. It would not longer be a chicken tikka masala but from experience, it is really good.

Following are a some step by step cooking photos of this chicken tikka masala.

Frying garlic and ginger paste

Heat the oil and add the garlic and ginger paste. Stir into the oil to cook for about 30 seconds.

adding ground spices to the pan

Stir in the coconut flour, sugar, ground almonds and ground spices to the pan and stir well.

Adding tomato puree to the pan

Pour in the tomato puree and stir well.

Adding base sauce

Add the base sauce and bring to a simmer. Add in small amounts as required.

Adding tandoori chicken to the pan

Stir in the tandoori chicken tikka.

Adding food colouring to the pan

Add the food colouring powder if using.

Adding cream to the pan

Stir in the cream and dried fenugreek leaves.

adding chopped coriander (cilantro) to the pan

Season with salt to taste and garnish with chopped coriander (cilantro).

 

Here are more curry house curry favourites you might like to try!

Chicken Korma
Chicken Madras
Lamb Rogan Josh
Chicken Dhansak
Lamb Vindaloo
Chicken Chilli Garlic
Chicken Patia
Lamb Bhuna
Butter chicken

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chicken tikka masala

You can make this restaurant style chicken tikka masala in minutes. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll want to make it again.

Authentic chicken tikka masala curry

Dig in!

 

I recommend serving this chicken tikka masala with plain white rice and another curry such as chicken korma.

I recommend serving this chicken tikka masala with this perfect Basmati rice!

Yield: 1 - 2

How To Make Chicken Tikka Masala

chicken tikka masala curry

This is a different chicken tikka masala recipe than the one that is featured in my cookbook 'The Curry Guy'. It is the first recipe I learned for this popular dish though. Definitely worth a try!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp mixed powder
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1/2 - 1 tbsp paprika
  • 300ml (1 1/2 cups) base curry sauce
  • 300g (11 oz) tandoori chicken
  • 100ml (scant 1/3 cup) single cream (more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp red food colouring powder (optional)
  • Juice of one lemon (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the ghee/oil in a frying pan over medium high heat
  2. When visibly hot, add the garlic and ginger paste and stir well to cook out the rawness.
  3. Stir in the coconut flour, sugar, ground almonds, mixed powder, tandoori masala and paprika and again stir well.
  4. Pour in the tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Then add about a ladle of base curry sauce. You will need to top this up from time to time. If the curry is looking too dry, add more base sauce. If too saucy, cook it down.
  5. Bring this all to a bubbling simmer and then add the pre-cooked tandoori chicken. Stir well to coat the meat with the sauce. Remember to add more base if it is looking dry. Scrape around the edges of the pan as the base sauce caramelises to the side. This will add a delicious flavour to your chicken tikka masala.
  6. Now add the food colouring if using.
  7. Continue stirring to colour the sauce adding more of the heated curry sauce when required
  8. Simmer for about a minute and pour in the cream.
  9. Stir in the fresh coriander, season with salt to taste and finish with a squeeze of lemon the dried fenugreek and the garam masala.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 489Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 489mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 14g

This nutritional info is just an estimate.

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I hope you enjoy this restaurant style chicken tikka masala recipe. If you do give it a try, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Other ways to make this chicken tikka masala your own…

As with all curry house style recipes, you can make this chicken tikka masala to taste.

In fact, it doesn’t need to be a chicken tikka masala at all. It’s all about the sauce! 

Just like when you go out for a curry and see tikka masala on the menu, you can decide which main ingredient to use. Try substituting tandoori lamb, paneer and/or king prawns in this curry.

All are delicious. 

 

Tonje

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

Thanks for the recipe! Really wondering where I’m going wrong. I followed the recipe and only left out chilis and coriander yet it tastes exactly like my “failed” butter chickens :\ it tastes good but it’s not the omg this is good like I get in the restaurants. Wondering if Norwegian ingredients don’t work. Oh well, will just have to pay for the real goods then.

Dan Toombs

Friday 24th of September 2021

I am sorry it didn't work for you. Maybe it was the ingredients you were using. I have a video on U Tube of me making it if you want to watch that and see if you're going wrong anywhere. Dan

Dave Brown

Sunday 12th of September 2021

I'm confused. You mention garam masala in the ingredients, but then it isn't mentioned in the recipe. When do you use it?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 14th of September 2021

Thanks for noticing, I have changed the recipe. Sprinkle it on at the end with the fenugreek. Dan

Keira Ball

Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Can't wait to try this.

Maya

Friday 29th of January 2021

I've made this twice now and it's divine. My friend even told me that it tasted like something you could order in a restaurant. I've been trying to make restaurant-style curry for ages but they've never hit the mark until now. I'm going to purchase your e-book and try some of your other recipes. Think chicken lababdar is next on my list. Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

Dan Toombs

Monday 1st of February 2021

Thanks very much, all so good to hear! Dan

Leanne

Tuesday 9th of June 2020

I made this yesterday and I have to say it’s the best curry I have ever tasted!! I now have your Books on order and I cannot wait to make a different curry. Thankyou so much for these recipes ❤️

Dan Toombs

Saturday 13th of June 2020

Hi Leanne Great to hear and thanks very much for your support. Dan

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Hi Leanne Great to hear and thank you for letting me know. Dan

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