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Chicken Tikka Masala

Morsels of  tender  chicken  in  creamy  tomato  sauce  aka Chicken Tikka Masala ,  is  a  very popular   fare in  Indian  restaurants .  Some  say  it  was  invented  in the   kitchens  of   London ,  others  speculate  it   was  concocted  by  the  chefs in  Punjab .  Whatever  the  origins  were  this is a  lovely dish ,  and in my book   that is   good  enough .  In case  you are   wondering ,   this is not  about  the  dried  tandoori chicken pieces    swimming  in  overly  creamy  sauce served  in  restaurants .  What  I am  talking  about  is the   dish that   home  cooks  have  embraced,  not  any  restaurant  knock off.  It is  fairly simple ,  flavorful   and  has  fewer   calories  to boot  –  I promise   you are  not   going  to  regret  making  this  .
Chicken Tikka Masala

Here is  a creamy orange  red gravy   of  the  chicken  tikka  masala  –  what a delectable  blend  of  spices !   There are  umpteen  versions  out  there   ranging  from   simple  to   complex  recipes .    Ultimately it  comes  down  to a  few   fresh  high  quality ingredients.  A good   garam  masala   is  key – whether  home  made  or  store  bought .  Add a few   spices  to  bring  out  the   flavors  and  you are  golden  .
The   first  step is  to marinate  the  chicken .  Extended  marination  does  not mean enhanced   flavor .  1/2  an hour  to a  couple  of  hours  is  all that is  required .   Mix  the  ingredients   for the  marinade together to  form a  smooth  paste .  Cut  the  chicken into  bite   size pieces  and  rub the   marinade  all over.   Marinate  for 30 minutes  to an hour, in the refrigerator .
When  ready to  cook ,  preheat  the  oven to 400°F (200°C)  .  Take a  sheet pan or  baking  dish  and  lightly spray with oil  or  line   with parchment paper. Shake   off  the  excess  marinade  from the  chicken pieces  and  place  on the  baking  dish  about 1″ apart  . Bake  for 15 to 20  minutes or  till   done.   When the  chicken is  done the juices  will run   clear.   Remove   from the  oven.
Alternately  these  can  be  cooked  on stove top .  Heat a  skillet on  medium  high heat.  Add  2  to 3  tablespoon of    oil    and cook   the   chicken in batches.
While  the   chicken  is  cooking in the oven ,   lets  get  to   work   on the  sauce . Chop the  onions ,   remove  the   seeds  from  the  tomatoes  and puree  the pulp and  keep  aside . In  a  saute pan   heat 1  to 2  Tbsp oil   over  medium  heat  and  add  the    whole  spices –   cumin ,  cardamom ,  bay leaf  cloves  –  and  methi  leaves .  Once  the  spices   splutter  and  starts to give off  nice  aroma  add  the   chopped  onions  and saute  for a  few  minutes  till the  onions begins  to  brown  slightly . Add  the pureed tomatoes   to the  pan.

Once  the  tomato sauce   begins  to  darken in color  add  the   tomato paste  and   mix  well . Reduce  the heat . Add  the   cream / coconut  cream  and  mix in . Add  the chicken  along   with  the  juices .  Stir  well . If  the   gravy  looks  too thick   thin it   with a  few  tablespoons  of   thin  coconut  milk /  milk / yogurt or  even  water .  Taste  and   adjust the   seasonings . Turn off  the  heat  once it  comes  to a  boil .   Sprinkle   chopped coriander   leaves  on  top . Serve  with   basmati  rice  / naan  / or  any  flat  bread .


Chicken Tikka Masala

Notes :

  • For a  smooth  gravy ,  blend  the cooked  onions  along   with the  tomatoes .
  • Fresh  tomatoes  can  be  substituted   for  tomato paste  and  visa  versa . If  not  using tomato paste , puree   2 more   medium  de-seeded  tomatoes .
  • Fresh  coriander  leaves (cilantro)  brings out  the   flavors  more , but  if  preferred   add  1.4 teaspoon coriander  powder  to  the  browned  onions .
Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

By Syama
Tender chicken in a  creamy  and  aromatic   spicy curry.   This is a  version of  the popular  chicken  tikka  masala   with less  dairy.  All the  creaminess  without  the overwhelming  milky flavors. 
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian


  • 500 g Chicken 1 lb


  • 1/2 C Thick Yogurt
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Coriander Optional
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger Grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Grated
  • 1 tsp Salt To Taste
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric


  • 1 Onion Medium - about 1C chopped
  • 1 Tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3 - 4 Pods Cardamom
  • 6 Cloves
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Tbsp Methi /Dried FenuGreek Leaves Optional
  • 1/4 C Cream / Coconut Cream
  • 2 Tomato Medium de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp Oil


  • Few Cilantro


  • Mix the ingredients for the marinade together to make a smooth paste .Cut the chicken into bite size pieces .Rub the marinade all over the chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes .
  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200°C) . Remove excess marinade from the chicken pieces and place on a tray about 1" apart .Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear.
  • Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat .Add cumin seeds , cardamom , clove , bay leaf and methi leaves to the hot oil .Once the spices splutter add the chopped onion and saute for a few minutes till it begins to brown . Puree the tomatoes and add to the onions . Stir well for a few minutes until the moisture evaporates and the color deepens (Do no brown). Stir in the cooked chicken and any remaining marinade .
  • Stir and saute for a couple minutes , add the cream / coconut cream .Reduce heat to low and mix well .Add a few tablespoons of water / thin cream to adjust the consistency of the sauce .Taste and adjust the seasonings .Bring to a boil and turn off the heat .
  • Sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top . Serve with basmati rice / naan.

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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Serve   with   Roti , Naan or  my favorite Lacha Parataha.


Craving  more  indian  style  chicken  recipes ?  Try  the  ever popular  Tandoori Chicken !

Tandoori Chicken

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