Make this chicken tikka masala from scratch today. Red or natural… Your choice.
Having been asked on numerous occasions for curry house style recipes that don’t require a base curry sauce, I came up with this chicken tikka masala from scratch.
It tastes just as good as the base sauce method and you can whip this chicken tikka masala up in about 30 minutes.
What is the difference between this ‘from scratch’ recipe and the base sauce method?
Time. That’s about it as they both taste the same. The curry house base sauce method can be cooked in about 10 minutes with the prepared base sauce.
This chicken tikka masala recipe takes about 30 minutes but you don’t have to have the base sauce on hand.
Which cut of chicken?
Although chicken breast is what is used at most restaurants, I prefer thigh as it has more flavour. It’s also usually the cheaper option.
You can used prepared chicken tikka for this recipe. You could also try leftover cooked chicken. For that matter, you could use raw chicken and just cook it through in the sauce but you will need to add a bit more stock or water to help it cook.
Do I have to use chicken?
If you want chicken tikka masala you do. But if that isn’t important to you, this sauce goes with pretty much any protein. Try beef, lamb, paneer… If it sounds good, it will be.
Step by step photographs…
How do I make bright red chicken tikka masala?
That’s easy. At many curry houses, the chefs still add red food colouring powder to the chicken tikka masala sauce to make it red.
That’s really all there is to it. There really isn’t any flavour in the red food colouring. It’s simply done for show.
If you like this chicken tikka masala recipe, you might like to try some of these too…
- 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 2 tbsp coconut milk powder
- 1 tbsp curry powder or garam masala
- 1 ½ tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp tandoori masala
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp sugar (more or less to taste)
- 200g tinned (canned) chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tbsp tomato paste stirred into 3 tbsp water
- 800g (1 ¾ lbs) cooked chicken tikka or cooked or raw chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tsp red food colouring powder (optional)
- 200ml (scant 1 cup) single cream (more or less to taste)
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 4 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Heat the ghee or oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. When visibly hot, stir in the chopped onions and fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. You could even fry them on a lower heat for longer which will bring out their natural sweetness but do not brown them.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry over medium high heat for about 30 seconds to cook out the rawness.
- Now stir in the ground almonds, coconut milk powder, curry powder or garam masala, paprika, tandoori masala, cumin and ground coriander. Stir this around in the pan to coat the onions.
- Because of all the spices used, it will look quite dry in the pan. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and about 125ml (1/2 cup) unsalted chicken stock or water. Bring to a simmer and then take off the heat to cool some.
- Place the cooled sauce in a blender and blend until really smooth. Pour the blended sauce back into the pan. It will look way to thick right now so add about 250ml (1 cup) unsalted chicken stock or water and bring to a rolling simmer.
- Add the cooked chicken. If using raw chicken, you will need to ensure it is cooked through. When the chicken is heated/cooked through, it’s time to fine tune this curry!
- If your sauce is too runny, cook it down. If it’s too thick, stir in a little more water or stock until you are happy.
- Stir in the cream and add lemon juice. Add the kasoori methi by rubbing it between your fingers into the sauce and season with salt to taste.
- Dust with the garam masala and garnish with the chopped coriander (cilantro).
I hope you enjoy this chicken tikka masala from scratch recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.