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!
My New Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
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.
- 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
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan and then stir in the garlic and ginger paste.
- Fry the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds and then add the ground spices, sugar, coconut flour and ground almonds. Stir well.
- The ground spices will become dry and crumbly fast. This is your cue to add the tomato puree.
- Stir well to make the tikka masala paste.
- Now add a splash of base sauce. One or two ladles should suffice and stir it all up.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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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
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
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?
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?
Wednesday 22nd of March 2023
This should feed 4 people. Thanks Dan
Monday 1st of February 2021
Used this recipe for the first time yesterday. Quite possibly the best Tikka masala I have ever eaten and I agree, the mixed spice makes a huge difference. Thanks for sharing Dan,
Monday 1st of February 2021
Hi Simon Great to hear, thank you so much for letting me know. Dan
Friday 22nd of January 2021
Just made it tonight including the base sauce, lengthy but well worth it! Two things that jumped out at me. 1. The recipe states 300g of chicken in the ingredients but then in the method says add chicken tikka and cook for two minutes..... I used my common sense and cooked my ‘chicken’ ( 300g of raw diced chicken) for 20 minutes but why didn’t it say ‘cooked chicken tikka’ in the ingredients, someone might get food poisoning if they didn’t have cookery experience. 2. Mentions sugar and ground almonds but not when to add them. If you add those to the other points others have asked I think the method and the ingredient list needs looking at Dan. Apart from tidying the two parts together to save lots of head scratching it really does make a delicious tikka masala.
Tuesday 26th of January 2021
Thanks very much for pointing that out. I have changed the recipe to state pre cooked chicken tikka and also stated when to add the sugar and ground almonds. I am glad you enjoyed the recipe anyway. Dan