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Chicken Tikka Masala

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Chicken Tikka Masala from The Curry Guy Cookbook

Chicken Tikka Masala photo from ‘The Curry Guy’ Cookbook. Photo by Kris Kirkham.

Chicken tikka masala is famous worldwide but it needs to be made curry house style in order to be the real thing! Many cookbooks out there feature good copies but my method is the one used at the best curry houses.

I know because it’s at the UK’s best curry houses that I learned my recipes. In the above photograph – taken from my book ‘The Curry Guy’ you will notice two different chicken tikka masalas. Believe it or not, they both tasted exactly the same.

Red food colouring is used to give chicken tikka masalas their bright red colour. However, food colouring has no flavour so this is done purely for appearance. I tend to leave the food colouring out when cooking at home.

Tips on making the best chicken tikka masala for your personal taste preferences.

In order to make a chicken tikka masala right, you need a good base sauce, just as they use at the most famous curry houses. Here’s my recipe.

Once you have that you need to decide how sweet you want your CTM. Many restaurants serve their tikka masala very sweet. I prefer mine to be more savoury. This is completely in your hands when you make your own. Just add more sugar if you want your curry sweeter.

Some chefs add coconut flour to their sauce. I add a little too. Not all chefs do though so if you aren’t a fan of coconut, just leave it out.

Another thing to consider is how creamy you want you CTM to be. I don’t add a lot of cream to mine but again, how much you add is down to your own personal preferences.

This is a scaled down version of the chicken tikka masala recipe in my cookbook

In my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’, most of the curries were developed to serve four. The recipe you see here on my blog is a curry house portion but with a bit more chicken. I love tandoori chicken!

At curry houses, the portions served are usually to serve one person or perhaps a few more if shared around the table. That is what you will get with this recipe.

I mention in my book and will mention again here, this is a tikka masala sauce. I used chicken but you can use whatever main ingredient you like in the sauce. Lamb tikka masala or paneer tikka masala are both popular choices.

Can I upscale and freeze this tikka masala?

Yep. Go for it. Double or triple the recipe. Make it as large as you like.

For best results when freezing, however don’t add the cream or butter. This can be done when you defrost and heat the sauce up to serve.

So then… Let’s get started!

Adding oil and garlic to the pan

Heat the oil over medium high heat and then stir in the garlic.


Stirring in ground spices

Stir the ground spices into the oil.


cooking spices into the chicken tikka masala sauce

The spices will become dry and crumbly quickly. That’s your cue to add liquid.


adding tomato puree to sauce

Stir in the tomato puree to make the base masala.

The tikka masala base

You will get a nice base like this.

Stirring base sauce into the tikka masala mix.

Stir in some base sauce and keep topping it up as needed.

Adding chicken to the sauce

Add the chicken. I added more than you would usually get in a restaurant portion.

stirring in remaining ingredients

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

chicken tikka masala

Dig in!

Yield: 2

My New Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala from The Curry Guy Cookbook

This is a chicken tikka masala just like you will get at the best curry houses. Tandoori chicken is normally used but you could add raw chicken and cook the curry longer. I strongly recommend making the chicken tikka though. It add to the flavour.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp mixed powder
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 350ml base sauce
  • 300g pre-cooked chicken tikka
  • 100ml single cream
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cold butter
  • Fenugreek methi
  • ½ tsp garam masala


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan and then stir in the garlic and ginger paste.
  2. Fry the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds and then add the ground spices, sugar, coconut flour and ground almonds. Stir well.
  3. The ground spices will become dry and crumbly fast. This is your cue to add the tomato puree.
  4. Stir well to make the tikka masala paste.
  5. Now add a splash of base sauce. One or two ladles should suffice and stir it all up.
  6. Bring to a simmer, stirring only if the sauce is sticking to the pan. As the sauce simmers, you will see that it begins to caramelise to the sides of the pan. Stir this in for more amazing flavour.
  7. Add the chicken tikka and perhaps a bit more base sauce if needed and simmer until the chicken is heated through. A couple of minutes should be fine.
  8. Just before serving, add the cream. Then throw in the chopped coriander, the butter, lemon juice and garam masala. Try it and season with salt to taste.


The amount of base sauce used is a guide. If you want more sauce, add more base. If it is too runny, let it cook down until you are happy with the consistency.

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Katie Murphy

Tuesday 9th of April 2024

Where is the recipe for the base sauce? I can’t see it anywhere. Thanks

Dan Toombs

Thursday 18th of April 2024

It’s on my blog, just type in base sauce in the search. Thanks Dan

Jack Stephenson

Tuesday 17th of October 2023


This actually looks like the perfect recipe but what are you referring to when you say base sauce and mixed powder?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

All the restaurant style curries require a base sauce that can be found on my blog along with the recipe for mixed powder. You can also buy mixed powder in Asian shops. Thanks Dan

Simon Dodd

Tuesday 25th of April 2023

Hi Dan. I'm fairly new to cooking masala and other curries. You mention a cookbook. Is it pdf, or can I purchase an actual book. Either is fine but I definitely need your sauces in my life. Thankyou

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 26th of April 2023

I have 7 published books and one more featuring one pot spicy dishes from around the world due out this October. I’d recommend The Curry Guy Bible to you which contains a good mixture of all my curries. Thanks very much. Dan

Mags Whyler

Friday 24th of March 2023

Hi Dan How would I make a chicken tikka masala for 15 people.. it’s for a party. How do I upscale the ingredients please?

Dan Toombs

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Just scale up accordingly but be a bit careful with any hotter spices, add those upscaled to taste. Thanks Dan


Tuesday 21st of March 2023

Great work, great chicken tikka masala, I add honey to sweeten up the ctm, exactly how many does this feed please?

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

This should feed 4 people. Thanks Dan

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