Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

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If it’s Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala, I promise there won’t be any leftovers in our home. My kids absolutely love this dish and I don’t blame them because it is that delicious, if I should say so myself.

I know the long list of spices makes you think it is a complicated dish but there really is nothing complicated about this dish. It is actually so quick and easy your guests would think you spent hours fussing over it. We often order this from an Indian restaurant, if I don’t feel like cooking. My kids love it because their sauce is kind of sweet.  For me, it is far too sweet for a curry. I did add sugar to my sauce and for me the amount I used was perfect. Although my 19-year-old still thought it wasn’t sweet enough. If I wanted a sweet dish then I would have settled for dessert. So if you, like him, loves more sweetness you can add more sugar.

Chicken thighs is usually what most people prefer to use for dishes like this. However, my kids don’t enjoy the fattiness of chicken thighs so I used chicken breasts. Chicken breasts won’t char as well as the thighs because chicken breasts cook quicker. Thighs can be cooked for longer and therefore you will get a better result. I literally brown my chicken breasts for about 30 seconds on high heat and remove them. If they not fully cooked do not stress, it will cook further in the sauce.

Although I would recommend marinating the chicken overnight, this is when the flavors really get in. If you are short on time an hour of marinating works perfectly fine.

You can also give the dish some smokiness if you wish. I didn’t have any coal so I skipped this bit. Once the Chicken Tikka Masala is cooked. Place a small stainless steel or enamel bowl in the middle of the pot. Place a hot coal inside the bowl. Drizzle a tablespoon of melted ghee on the coal and close the pot. After 30 minutes remove the coal and pour the ghee into the curry.

On many occasions I have tried using fresh tomatoes and tomato paste and it didn’t quite work for me.  I personally prefer using tomato Passata, it’s an Italian tomato sauce. You can however, use tomatoes if you prefer.  Please try and use spices that are roasted and freshly ground, it makes all the difference.

This curry is perfect with some Basmati rice or Naan Bread.

If you do try this dish please drop me a comment. I always love hearing from you.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chicken tikka, chicken tikka masala
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


Chicken Tikka Marinade

  • 500 gram chicken breasts or thighs cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1&1/2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying the chicken

Curry Sauce

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2+1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 elachie/cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1&1/4 cup passata
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1&1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt


Chicken Tikka

  • Add all the marinade ingredients, except the chicken, to a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Refrigerate overnight or marinate for an hour
  • Heat half of the 1&1/2 tablespoon oil, in a large pan, on high heat. Spread half the chicken in the pan and fry until they are charred. Chicken breasts should be charred for about 30 seconds on each side, not more or it will be rubbery. It will cook further in the sauce
  • Discard any remaining charred bits in pan and add the other half of the oil. Char the remaining chicken. Cover with foil and set aside


  • Heat 2 tablespoon butter and 2 teaspoon oil. Add cardamom pods and fry until fragrant. Add onions and cook until golden brown. Add ginger/garlic paste
  • Add turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powder. Cook for 2 minutes. Add a few drops of water if required
  • Add the tomato passata together with the water. Mix well. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, giving it a few stirs, until sauce thickens a little
  • Once sauce is cooked, pour into a small glass bowl and blend until smooth
  • Return sauce to the pot and add the cream and sugar together with 1 tablespoon butter
  • Turn the heat to high. Add the chicken and bring to a quick boil. Turn off the heat. Chicken will cook further in the sauce
  • Garnish with coriander


  1. You can add more cream and sugar according to your taste
  2. The sugar can be replaced with honey
  3. If you not serving the curry immediately you can cook the sauce and refrigerate it, fry the chicken and add to it when ready to serve
  4. The color of my curry is very close to the color in the images, I did not filter the photos much. The color is from the Kashmiri chilli powder and paprika
  5. Although it is recommended that the chicken is marinated overnight, if you are short on time an hour works fine


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