Chicken Tikka Masala | Hari Ghotra
4.1/5 rating (37 votes)

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken in a Rich Cashew Nut Sauce

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info CONTAINS-NUTS GLUTEN-FREE
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Marinade 30 mins
  • Cook 20 mins
                             

Tender chicken cooked on a griddle, then finished in a delicious rich cream sauce made with spices and a cashew nut paste.

Hari says

This dish is said to have originated in the Moti Mahal Hotel Restaurant in Delhi where the chefs didn't want to waste the leftover chicken from the tandoor. So to satisfy the British desire to have their meat served with gravy, they devised a creamy, luxurious sauce that would both keep the chicken deliciously moist and give it a new lease of life. Mind you, others say it was created in a Glasgow restaurant.

Whatever its origin, along with Korma, Tikka Masala is undoubtedly one of the UK's favourite curries. I love the way this has been absorbed and adapted into British culture (and even exported back to India, as it's now popular there!). To see and be a part of a real food evolution is quite amazing... doesn't taste half bad either.

To buy the main ingredients for my Tikka Masala, buy my curry kit here.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 6 chicken thighs, cut into chunks

Optional

  • ½ pepper, chopped into large chunks
  • ½ onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 tomato, chopped into large chunks

Marinade

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3cm piece ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 heaped tsp fenugreek
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil, to cook

Masala Sauce

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 5cm stick cassia bark
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, minced or very finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaf (kasoori methi)
  • 100ml double cream
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped
 

Method

Marinade

    1. Blend the marinade spices and coat the chicken, (optional pepper, onion and tomato) for at least half an hour.

Masala Sauce

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the cassia, cardamom, bay leaves, cloves and cumin seeds.
  2. Once fragrant add onions and cook gently for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Add salt to taste then add the turmeric, minced ginger and garlic.
  4. Pound the cumin and coriander seeds and stir into the pan with the chilli powder. Add a splash of water to stop the spices from burning.
  5. Blitz the fresh tomatoes to a purée.
  6. Blend the cashew nuts to a powder then stir into the tomatoes to make a paste.
  7. Add this nut and tomato paste to the sauce with a little water and leave to cook for 10 minutes (add more water to loosen if required).
  8. Place the marinated chicken and vegetables onto an oven tray and pour the mustard oil over them. Cook on 180oC for about 15-25 minutes until the chicken pieces are a little charred around the edges.
  9. Once cooked place cooked chicken (and veg if using) into the sauce and stir. Leave this to cook for about 5-10 minutes.
  10. Add the dried fenugreek, pour in a little cream, stir and remove from the heat. Throw in the coriander to serve.

Served with

I like to have my chicken tikka masala just with plain rice so I can savour the flavour of the sauce.

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
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Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Calories177
Fat (g)13
of which saturates (g)4.4
Carbohydrates (g)2.6
of which sugars (g)1.7
Fibre (g)0.4
Protein (g)13
Salt (mg)0.98
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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Comments

Comments (36)

  • Mik

    Mik

    05 December 2016 at 23:37 |
    thanks a lot for your answers! very useful...
    I cooked it today and it was really amazing... thanks for the inspiration!
    It led to another question though :-)
    Instead of baking or grilling the marinated chicken in an oven tray, if the goal is for the chicken to get charred, would it not be better to thread the chicken into skewers and then to the oven? This way the chicken would be less saucy and will char better?
    Thanks again

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      06 December 2016 at 09:24 |
      Hi Mik Yes totally this is how I sometimes cook the chicken but I didn't want to over complicate the recipe and turn people off with so many processes. Also you need to ensure you dont over cook the chicken so it dries out too much. I hope this helps. Thanks for trying the recipe and enjoying the flavours. Hari

      reply

  • Mik

    Mik

    04 December 2016 at 15:52 |
    Another question :-)
    Does it matter the type of onion? red, white....

    Thanks!

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      05 December 2016 at 08:38 |
      Hi Mik Not really but red onions are good for this dish. Hope that helps Hari

      reply

  • Mik

    Mik

    03 December 2016 at 18:54 |
    Nice recipe. I will try it soon!
    Quick questions:
    - would you grind the cassia bark and the cloves?
    - any reason to for for greek instead of pain yogurt?
    Thanks

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      05 December 2016 at 08:36 |
      Hi Mik to answer your questions I like to keep the spices whole as they add the base flavour to the dish. You can pick them out before serving if you don't like them. I always use Greek yoghurt as its thicker and has less water content so is better to infuse flavour into the meat. Read my blog on marinades as it explains a little more about why a thick yoghurt is better http://www.harighotra.co.uk/blog/indian-marinades . Let me know how it comes out because this one is a real favourite. Thanks for using the website. Hari

      reply

  • Lizzie

    Lizzie

    01 November 2016 at 17:21 |
    Can I use tinned toms instead of fresh? If so, how much? Thanks

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      02 November 2016 at 08:30 |
      Hi Lizzie yes you can use one 400g tin and 2tbsp of tomato puree. Fresh tomatoes are better with this one though. Hope you like it. Hari

      reply

  • Christy

    Christy

    10 September 2016 at 03:26 |
    Can you purée the onions? Thanks

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      10 September 2016 at 10:15 |
      Hi Yes you can or you can whizz the sauce at the end for a smooth sauce - let me know how it comes out! Thanks for using the website

      reply

  • Rachel Godwin

    Rachel Godwin

    14 June 2016 at 21:13 |
    Fab recipe. We love all the flavours in this one, and it is easy to make as well

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      16 June 2016 at 16:14 |
      Hi Rachel We all love a Tikka Masala and pleased to hear you find this a easy recipe to follow. Thank for leaving a comment Hari

      reply

  • MadeleineVZ

    MadeleineVZ

    01 April 2016 at 07:15 |
    Hi, I'm wondering if you grind the spices you initially add to oil: the cinnamon etc.? I would have thought so!

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      04 April 2016 at 15:46 |
      Hi No when tempering spices in oil you use them whole - does that make sense or do you need more help? Thanks for your comments. Hari

      reply

  • Jeff

    Jeff

    18 March 2016 at 17:24 |
    Hi Hari. Love your recipes but why don't you use a regular everyday teaspoon instead of that weird half a tea spoon? Just seems to make more sense!
    Jeff

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      20 March 2016 at 08:29 |
      Hi Jeff It probably would but that's the spoon that you get in the spice tins and I love using them. Hope you enjoyed the recipe though. Thanks

      reply

  • Abbie

    Abbie

    09 December 2015 at 12:03 |
    Beautiful! Fantastic sauce.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      09 December 2015 at 20:20 |
      That's fantastic - thanks for trying it.

      reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    19 August 2015 at 10:18 |
    Hi Diane Really please you enjoyed the dish. I may well have used more in the video sometimes i like to increase it a little for a bit more flavour. If you want it a little more nutty add a little more. I usually bake it on a high heat to get the tinge of brown. Glad the video was helpful too. Thanks Hari

    reply

  • Diane

    Diane

    19 August 2015 at 00:43 |
    Turned out very well. I ate half of it myself!

    When I watched your video, it appeared to me that you used more than 1 Tbsp. of cashews. Am I correct?
    Also, in the oven, did you bake or broil the chicken. My chicken did not brown until I used the broil setting.
    Your video was very helpful.
    Thanks!

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    16 August 2015 at 07:55 |
    Hi Kevin Dried Fenugreek is an important final flavour of this dish but if you can't find it then just omit it. Do let me know what you think. Thanks so much for your feedback Hari

    reply

  • Kevin

    Kevin

    15 August 2015 at 20:49 |
    Hi Hari

    I can get all of the ingredients apart from dried fenugreek leaf. Can this be omitted or substituted?
    Thanks.

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    29 July 2015 at 07:19 |
    Hi Gavin Welcome to the team pleased to hear you enjoyed the cooking process and that the results were pleasing. Looking forward to hearing all about your kitchen antics! Thanks Hari

    reply

  • Gavin

    Gavin

    28 July 2015 at 22:18 |
    Astonishingly good. I've got three portions in the freezer. I used a curl of cinnamon instead of cassia, 2tbs purée in place of tomato, and all worked out fine. I'm new to Indian cookery, and this was easy to follow. It does mean being on your feet in the kitchen for an hour or so, but not difficult. Looking forward to trying other recipes, so fresh-tasting and without the oiliness of bought sauces.

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    08 June 2015 at 16:26 |
    Hi Catherine That's great - so pleased you are enjoying the recipes. Try the Nariyal chicken for you and the Karahi lamb for your husband. Let me know what you think!

    reply

  • Catherine

    Catherine

    08 June 2015 at 14:20 |
    Hi Hari. We loved this so much we made it again yesterday! :) Can't wait for our next challenge.....what would you recommend? I'm a fan of creamy, saucy milder curries made with chicken and hubby favours the slightly hotter, meaty curries like Madras/Dhansak.

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    05 June 2015 at 10:18 |
    Hi Catherine Thank you so much for your message - I am really thrilled that you are enjoying the website and the recipes. I'm so pleased that your husband is able to remember the flavours from his childhood too. Do let me know what you think of the dish enjoy Hari

    reply

  • Catherine

    Catherine

    05 June 2015 at 09:46 |
    Making this tonight.....can't wait!! The chicken has been marinating since last night, just the sauce to do today :) Have made your Lamb Madras, Chicken Pasanda, Dhansak (which we did with chicken) and Chicken Korma so far. All delicious!! My husband's family is Anglo Indian and he grew up eating curry. Sadly his Dad passed away a few years ago before we could get any recipes from him, so he is thrilled I came across your website.x

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    02 February 2015 at 15:07 |
    That is exactly what I would do too - Not so much of a novice any more! So glad you are enjoying the dishes!

    reply

  • Maria Bain

    Maria Bain

    02 February 2015 at 15:02 |
    I've made this twice now and as a complete kitchen novice the recipe was wonderfully simple to follow! There may be a lot of ingredients going on but don't let this panic you. It's a lot of work but well worth it - I cooked it for the second time for a dinner party and decided to split the work into two stages - marinaded the chicken the night before which only left sticking the chicken in the oven while making the masala sauce the next day. Totally delicious

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    17 November 2014 at 16:26 |
    Hi Stefan you could make the sauce in the slow cooker and then add the cooked marinated chicken to the sauce. I would also add the cream once the dish is cooked and you have added the meat rather then to the sauce at the start of the slow cooking.

    reply

  • Stefan

    Stefan

    17 November 2014 at 16:22 |
    Hi. Would it be ok to use this dish in a slow cooker? Extra tender chicken.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    02 October 2014 at 21:55 |
    Hi Matt This is a fairly spicy dish already but if you want to ramp it up more I would add some fresh green chillies (finely chopped) when you add the ginger and garlic to the onions. Once cooked through taste it and if you want more heat you can sprinkle in a little more chilli powder. Let me know how how you get on.

    reply

  • Matt

    Matt

    02 October 2014 at 21:13 |
    If I wanted to make this a very spicy curry (scare ledge I know but I think it works really well) to mix the sweet flavour of the cream with a spicy kick, what is the best way to do it? Freshly chopped chillies? Dry chilli powder?

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    09 June 2014 at 15:41 |
    Thank you so much for the feedback - this has been amended. We are hoping to work our way one to other food forums very soon. I am really glad you like the site - I have been adding more recipes for you to try so keep cooking!

    reply

  • Steve Mcquillan

    Steve Mcquillan

    18 May 2014 at 20:20 |
    Great recipe cook a lot of curries but this was so fresh & fragrant
    Did a muteer paneer with this which went perfectly
    I would say longer than 15 mins for cooking the chicken I know marinating it speeds up the cooking but definately takes longer! & I use "foodily" for all my recipes why aren't you on there?!
    Anyway thanx for the recipe a great fresh curry & your website is superb! X

    reply

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Hari Ghotra