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Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe


Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala

Marinating the Chicken:

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, skins removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
250g thick natural yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Skewers, If using wooden skewers completely submerge them in water for approx. 30 minutes. This will hinder them from catching fire while grilling.

Tomato Gravy:

250g canned cocktail tomatoes
250g heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 red chilies, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika powder
1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
Handful of coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper


Mix all of the ingredients for the marination in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix until the chicken is nicely coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

On the next day, either prepare your charcoal grill or heat up the grill function of your oven to high.

Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, discarding the marinade. Grill the chicken evenly on all sides, until juices run clear – approx. 5-6 minutes.

To prepare the gravy, heat a large skillet to medium and melt the ghee/clarified butter. Sauté the garlic and chopped chilies until fragrant. Sprinkle the ground cumin, paprika powder and a pinch of salt. Sauté for a further minute or two until the mixture turns into a paste-like texture.

Pour in the canned tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the skillet to deglaze it and to release any bits stuck to the pan. Simmer uncovered for approx. 10-15 minutes on low heat until the sauces begins to thicken, then add the grilled chicken pieces and cream. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, thickening the sauce further and to heat the chicken and cream through.

Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped coriander leaves and with steamed Basmati rice, fresh naans and pickles.

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66 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Taste Heaven

    I love chicken tikka masala. I always order it at Indian restaurants or have them at buffet. Going to try out ths CTM recipe. Looks very good.

  2. ChichaJo

    Great and informative post! My husband and I love chicken tikka masala but never knew about its colorful origins! Thanks for shedding some light :) Coming from a country that has been influenced by several foreign cultures (conquerors, haha), I am very familiar with having food (and everything else…myself included!) that is never “100% pure” ethnically, or with disputed origins. But my view is simple: If I like the way it tastes, I eat it :) Thanks for sharing this recipe! I hope I will soon be able to make some of these favorite Indian dishes (which I love!) from scratch!

  3. Manggy

    I once had CTM in a restaurant, but I found it quite bland– this recipe looks very rich and flavorful in contrast. I think I’ll give it a shot– after all, it is a national dish! :)

  4. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    So nice to find Meeta guest blogging here! Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes, so I’m bookmarking this recipe.

  5. limpepsi

    I rarely eat Indian food.But the way you presented CTM is really good. I would be happy to cook CTM soon!

    Thank you so much!

  6. Happy cook

    I love chiken tikka masala, it is one of those dishes i make when i give a full indian dinner.
    Meetas CTM looks yumm.

  7. Passionate About Baking

    Fab post Meeta…& you've done true justice to this popular dish. Lizzie has interesting observations in her book; even Rogan Josh is said to have Persian origins. The fusion of flavours here are sublime; this is an indulgent curry. I love making it as a special treat!

  8. CECIL

    Chicken tikka masala may well be my favorite dish in Indian cuisine. Scoop the gravy with flat bread. WOooo..Delicious!

  9. Salt N Turmeric

    hi Meeta. I think im going to like this dish. 1 question tho, can i use bone-in chicken? i know i cant use the skewer w them but i dont raelly like boneless. lol.

  10. Anonymous

    Meeta, thanks for the wonderful post of chicken tikka masala. This is the best chicken tikka masala I have seen by far. Much better than the chicken tikka masala served at Indian buffet restaurants here in the US. One thing I don’t like about the ones served at Indian buffet is that they seem to use leftover tandoori chicken to make chicken tikka masala, so the chicken is always dry and stale tasting.


  11. MeetaK

    thanks everyone for your comments here!

    i am glad you are liking the recipe for this chicken tikka masala.

    salt & turmeric – to answer your question: yes. cut up the bone-in chicken to smaller pieces and then grill it. you might have to increase the grilling/cooking time to ensure these pieces are cooked through, but i do not see why it should not work. one thing however, boneless chicken tastes more succulent in this dish.

    diane – i know that often happens. unfortunately many restaurants have turned to doing this. that's why i decided to make my home. as you see it's a fairly easy recipe and can be made on the spur on the moment a the spices i tried to use here are normally available in all household pantries.


  12. Eunice

    I have never had this in my life, but looks like a very welcome addition! I hope to make it as soon as humanly possible! Thanks RasaMalaysia & Meeta!


  13. Marcie

    This was amazing! I made it tonight and my boyfriend and I simply loved it! This was actually my FIRST experience with “Indian” food.. this is definitely worth making many times!

    Thank you so much for the recipe! All of the ingredients were very accessible and it was a “pantry” dish for me!

  14. Anonymous

    i also love CTM and always have it when i go to indian restaurants or if i have a takeaway, its always amazing but i was wondering why its always so red because the one have doesnt look like the one in the photo ? x

  15. MeetaK

    thank you everyone for your comments and compliments. also a huge thanks to rasa malaysia for giving me the honor.

    for those who have already tried this recipe – first thank you and it is delicious isn’t it. my first priority here was keeping it simple so that people could make this using everyday items in their pantries!

  16. Ken

    Thanks so much for the recipe, Meeta! I’m hoping it helps me on my quest to put together another ‘mongrel’ dish from Western menus, the Tandoori Shrimp Masala. From your story, I can guess that its origins are somewhat the same – make Tandoori Shrimp and add ‘gravy’! Of course, an actual recipe is always welcome, too! Many thanks again!

  17. Tins

    Thank you Meeta for this wonderful sauce. I just made channa masala using this recipe and it was wonderful :) Keep tempting us with your flavorful recipes :)

  18. Lee

    Oh my god, I made this dish yesterday and I keep eating the leftovers at inappropriate times. It’s fantastic! Thank you so much!

  19. janetching

    I just made Chicken Tikka Masala on New Year’s Day for my family, it came out good but I would love to try yours, am sure it is lovely. Am glad to find your blog. Happy New Year.

  20. Magda

    This dish is great. The taste is excellent, we love it.
    I shall cook this over and over again.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Great that everyone is enjoying this so much!

    Ken – yes! i have made jumbo prawns masala exactly the way you presumed and it tasted lovely. so go ahead and give it a go!


  22. Teena

    This recipe was very delicious and I enjoyed making it. In an attempt to reduce some of the fat from the heavy cream the second time I made it, I mixed fat free evaporated milk with some yogurt and substituted that for the heavy cream. The curry came out decently enough, though not as thick and creamy. Do you have any other suggestions for people who may want to avoid the heavy cream and saturated fat?

  23. Leah

    Oh my goodness!!! As a brit living in the States this just made my mouth water! My other half is American so his palate is not attuned to Indian food. I shall have to go shopping tomorrow for the ingredients and let him try it!! I had a feeling that CTM was not strictly Indian but as another comment said….if it tastes good then what the hey, eh?!!

  24. Russ

    I tried this dish last night, and whilst tasty I would not say it is a patch on the tikka masala recipes you get in many other places. The heavy cream is unnecessary and somewhat dead calories to a bland dish. Maybe this is because in the UK we have come to know Tikka Masala as more than just tomatoes and cumin powder now. Hunt around, there are better recipes out there.

    • Heavy cream, also known as whipping cream and you should be able to find easily at the dairy section of any grocery store. It’s clearly labeled on the carton. Hope this helps :)

  25. Is that 250g cream or 250ml of cream?
    Big difference and the last time I did 250g cream, my chicken was pink rather than orange.

  26. Colin

    Weird, I would have thought that one spice was totally vital to CTM, turmeric. With all that paprika, come on tell us the secret, how did you get it to be so yellow in colour and not red. I think you are telling us little porkies and this recipe is wrong unless when you make it defies nature. But thanks for having a laugh with us

  27. George

    Ok, the story referred to in the original story is from the Shish Mahal restaurant in Park Road, in Glasgow. I used to visit this restaurant when it was in it’s original location in Gibson St., back in the late ’60’s. I often cook this dish but as I never write a recipe down, it never will turn out exactly the same. Doesn’t bother me really. Cooking is what it is. Every chef’s interpretation will differ as will the taste. I have eaten curries in restaurants all over the UK, and in fact the world, I still prefer Glasgow restaurants to any others. However, that is just my opinion, set by my palate.
    Just find a recipe you think is close to the mark to what you like and go ahead and do it, Experiment and enjoy.
    Do it……………… it now!!

  28. Jane

    I made CTM using a jarred sauce I found in Big Lots of all places (think overstock store, various items changing all the time). We loved it and I ran back to buy all the rest they had in stock. Unfortunately, only one lonely jar was left, pout.

    I searched online to find a recipe which used common ingredients, as finding specialty spices is more than difficult in my area. Thank you so much for a recipe I can actually complete! I will be making this very soon.

  29. PC

    Realy enjoyed this last night and it looked fantastic but i agree with the comment above it was a little spicey for CTM. Anyhow, It was so nice my OH wants me to make it again tonight!! but this time im going to half all the spice ingredients and im going to whizz the toms first in a blender to see if i can get a smoother sauce. I don’t know what cocktail toms are, i just used an ordinary tin of chopped toms but as i just threw the toms straight in there were lumps at the end in the sauce. I didnt want to blend it then as i find that intensifies spices. A little more cream helped bring the heat out. There was one small piece left and i nibbled it this morning to see what the taste was like and it was even better so i do advise to marinate over night. I didnt have time and only did it for about 4 hours. Try it. I hope you like it.

  30. Bindhya

    Chicken tikka masala is an Indian can she says it’s a british dish. Steal something from some country and announcing it’s our new national dish.!!! Ha ha ha Very funny!! Same like kohinoor diamond.!!

    • samuel

      I think you’ll find if you actually researched this that chicken tikka is an indian dish but chicken tikka masala is a scottish variation. they found tikka on it’s own to be too dry and so developed the ‘gravy’ to go with it. don’t get offended before you do the research.

    • kazy

      Chicken Tikka Masala is a fusion Indian British dish that comes from the UK. Just like Lasagna is not authentically Italian in that it does not come from Italy. It is an Italian American dish. Tikka Masala is an Indian-Brit dish. It most certainly has all the aromas and flavors of Indian cuisine. However the abundance of the tomato sauce is the British contribution to the dish as I don’t believe Indian cuisine uses that much tomato sauce and besides something this good has no replication in dull tasteless British food, as anyone who has sampled UK food can tell you, but it did originate in the UK, inspired by Indian cuisine, possibly to entice the English palette of which there is none. Just kidding. Not. No, really, I am….not.

      • Scouse

        ya what…English food has flavour my son. fish and chips, a full english, what about shepperds pie? Silly statement mate.
        Cournish pasties…nuff said I think. In dian food is wonderful, but every country has dishes that are just as wonderful.

    • Simon

      Chicken Tikka masala is also considered the “brother” of butter chicken, which originated at the Moti Mahal restaurant. The guy behind it is named Kundan Lala gujral.

      And even if did originate in glashow, it’s still a indian invention.

      Chopsuey is also not invented in china, but it’s still invented by chinese chefs in America.

      So in other words tikka masala originates from the hands of indian chefs. We could go on and argue about the origin and story behind it. But one thing that cannot be argued about is that Tikka masala is a very tasty dish.

  31. Patricio Tomás

    Hello Rasa. Thanks for answering always so quickly. This recipe it’s good for three people or it’s too much? Thanks. All the best :)

  32. Katherine Magwene

    I’m interested in making this dish, but have never heard of cocktail tomatoes (canned or not). Is there another name for them?

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