This is such an easy Chicken Tikka Masala recipe, and it's just like the ones you get from an Indian restaurant or takeaway!
Undoubtedly, Chicken Tikka Masala is THE most popular Indian dish in the UK. Some 23 million portions of the nation's favourite dish are sold each year in Indian restaurants, and M&S sell around 15 tons a week!
But...it may not be a true Indian food, having likely been created in England!
Where it really came from doesn't matter too much as it's a firm favourite, with a mix of spice, but not too much, and a delicious sauce.
What spices go in Tikka Masala?
Chicken Tikka Masala is all about the combination of the spices.
Together, they create a wonderful aroma and make the curry so tasty.
The spices you need to make Tikka Masala are:
- mild chilli powder
- garam masala
- garlic granules
If you prefer your curries spicier, then use hotter chilli powder instead. Don't just add in more of the mild as it will throw off the mix of the other spices.
If you keep the same proportions of Tikka Masala spices, you can always bulk make your powder. This way, you can have it ready made in your store cupboard and will save yourself time in the future.
Why is Chicken Tikka Masala red?
Some people think that Indian restaurants and takeouts add some kind of food colouring to a Tikka Masala to give it a reddish-orange colour.
However, you don't need to do this (and they may not either).
The rich colour is all down the variety of spices you use.
The main spices in the masala are turmeric, which has a golden yellow colour as well as the powered chilli and tomato which have a bright red colour.
How do you marinate chicken for Tikka Masala?
Once you've got all your Tikka Masala spices together, you need to start marinating your chicken. The longer you can marinate the chicken for the greater the flavour.
Using a yoghurt will allow the spices to cling to the chicken better.
You can leave the chicken marinating for as little as an hour in the fridge, but 24 hours will mean you get a lot more taste.
Do be sure to cover the dish you're marinating the chicken tikka masala in, as it has a powerful flavour and will make your fridge smell 🙂
What is the difference between Chicken Tikka and Chicken Tikka Masala?
Tikka and Tikka Masala start pretty much the same.
For both dishes, you need to put together the spices and marinate the chicken chunks.
However, it's what happens after this time that changes the two dishes.
For a Chicken Tikka, the chicken is then cooked (traditionally) in a Tandoor oven, but under the grill will work too.
For a Chicken Tikka Masala, the chicken is cooked in the creamy (and delicious) masala sauce.
As we have Indian food all the time, they are a perfect way to serve curry.
How do you make easy chicken tikka masala?
Chicken Tikka Masala is an easy recipe, but you do need to give yourself a bit of time. It's not about doing much, but just allowing all the spices to marinate and let the flavours to sink in.
You need to allow at least one hour, but it's best if you can prepare the chicken 24 hours in advance to get the most out of the spices.
After you've combined all the spices, mix them with the yoghurt and chicken, so everything is coated well.
When it's ready, you can cook the chicken and begin to prepare your sauce base.
After frying your onions, the spices get added, and the colour of the sauce starts coming together to make the classic Tikka Masala red-orange.
You then need to add the final ingredients and let the Tikka Masala simmer to cook the chicken through.
I love naan bread! So it's a staple side dish. Rice is perfect on the side, as is saag aloo and poppadums.
Chicken Tikka Masala
- 800 g chicken diced
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 2 tbsp garlic granules
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 1½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp mild chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 medium onions sliced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 1½ tbsp ginger
- 1½ tbsp chilli powder
- 1½ tsp coriander
- 500 g tomato passata
- 200 ml water optional
- 200 ml double cream
- 1½ tsp brown sugar
- handful of fresh coriander
- Mix all the seasoning together and then add the chicken, put cling film over the top, leave in the fridge for 24 hours if possible, however 1 hour is fine.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and then brown the chicken. Remove and set aside.
- Add butter to the pan and cook the onions and the garlic for around 5 minutes, add all the other spices and the tomato puree (the sauce should now be a nice deep red colour). You may need to add the water here depending on how dry the sauce is. Add the brown sugar, most of the cream (you need to keep a bit back for decoration at the end) add the chicken, and simmer gently for 15 - 20 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
- Serve with a drizzle of cream and fresh coriander on top for decoration.