I learned to make chicken tikka masala at some of the best UK curry houses. Now you can make it too!
Chicken tikka masala is my kids’ all time favourite curry. They aren’t into spicy food so this and chicken korma are often on our evening menu. This 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 times more.
If you are a chicken tikka masala fan, this one is probably the best out there. I’ve had some great teachers. Now I would like you to be able to make this hugely popular mild curry too.
Many chicken tikka masalas are very sweet. I don’t personally care for overly sweet curries but if that’s what you like, add more sugar or honey. That will do the job.
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. Many chefs in India are now learning how to make curries the British curry house way for tourists and the curious.
All of the authentic Indian restaurant style curry recipes on my site use a base curry sauce. There is a link to my recipe below.
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.
International & UK Orders
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 base curry sauce. 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 for sure… people love it worldwide now.
- 800g Tandoori chicken tikka (A link to my recipe is above)
- 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon sugar (more or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 700ml heated base curry sauce
- 250ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon red food colouring powder (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small bunch fresh chopped coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice of one lemon
- Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat
- When bubbling hot, add the cumin, turmeric, coriander powder, fenugreek leaves and garam masala.
- Stir the spices around in the hot oil for about 30 seconds and then add the tomato paste and garlic and ginger paste.
- Continue stirring all the ingredients for another 30 seconds and then add the heated curry sauce.
- Bring to a simmer and add your chicken tikka.
- Simmer for about a minute and pour in the cream and red dye if using.
- Add the butter and stir until it melts into the sauce.
- Stir in the fresh coriander, season with salt and pepper and finish with a squeeze or two of lemon.