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chicken tikka masala recipe

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You can make chicken tikka masala if you like Indian food and have fresh chicken or cooked leftover chicken on hand. This delicious Indian dish has a tomato – based sauce flavored with traditional Indian seasonings and spice blends like coriander, cumin, and masala garam.

It all began in the 1970s when a grumbling client lamented that his chicken was dry. Once back in the kitchen, Mr Ali— who had a stomach ulcer thanks to divine intervention and was on a liquid-based diet — insisted on embellishing the dry curry with a touch of his tomato soup and a sprinkling of spices. Needless to say, the customer went from disgruntled to overjoyed, so much so that he kept coming back with his mates over and over again just to taste the beauty of a dish.


  1. Steamed basmati rice (for serving)
  2. ¾ cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  3. 2 cups heavy cream
  4. 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, like San Marzano
  5. 2 dried chiles de árbol or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  6. 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  7. ¼ cup tomato paste
  8. 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  9. 3 Tbsp. ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  10. 2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  11. 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  12. 1½ cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
  13. 2 tsp. ground cumin
  14. 2 tsp. ground coriander
  15. 2 tsp. garam masala
  16. 4 tsp. ground turmeric
  17. 4 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
  18. 6 garlic cloves, finely grated


Combine a little bowl with garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin. In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt, salt, and half of the spice mixture. Cover and refresh for 4 – 6 hours. Remaining spice mixture cover and chill.

Heat ghee over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom and chilies and cook until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining half of the spice mixture and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently until the bottom of the pot begins to brown.

Add the tomatoes with the juices and crush them as you add them with your hands. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook, stirring frequently, and scrap brown bits from the bottom of the pot until sauce thickens for 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the cream and the cilantro chopped. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce thickens. In the meantime, broiler preheat. Line a rimmed foil baking sheet and place inside the sheet a wire rack. Arrange chicken in one layer on the rack. Broil about 10 minutes until chicken begins to black in spots (it won’t be cooked through).

Cut the chicken into pieces of bite size, add to the sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 – 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Serve with sprigs of rice and coriander.

Additional information

The accurate information about nutrition depends on the recipe you use to make it. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides the following information for one bowl (225 grams) on chicken tikka masala nutrition:

  • 270 calories
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 17 grams of protein
  • 31 grams of carbohydrates

Chicken tikka masala, with 38 grams per serving, is rich in protein. It also provides 3 grams per serving of dietary fiber. Fiber is a cholesterol-lowering nutrient that also helps prevent blood sugar spikes, and by using more tomatoes and onions and serving chicken tikka masala with brown rice rather than basmati rice, you can increase the fiber content of your meal. Reduce the content of saturated fat and cholesterol by replacing vegetable oil with ghee, and reduce the content of saturated fat and calories by using low-fat yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt. During cooking, you can reduce your sodium consumption by using less salt.

Funnily enough, when asked to distinguish chicken tikka masala from butter chicken, even many Indians become confused. And well, we’re not blaming them. These two curries, bearing a strikingly similar orange tinge, not only make for look-alikes but are also the top contestants in the category of’ most popular Indian curry.’ In addition, the countless regional variations make telling the difference more difficult. What really distinguishes these two dishes?

Simply put, as the name suggests, butter chicken is rich in butter. To make the tomato sauce creamier, this ingredient is added in abundance and, in turn, its addition gives the palate some sweetness. By comparison, chicken tikka masala is the spicier variant with more nuanced flavours.

While savouring the delicious chicken tikka masala, even if you order from the website using swiggy offers, the following sides will complement your dish well:

Bread: If you enjoy moping up curry sauce with a pillowy naan, we’ve got recipes to tickle your brinjal pickle. If you have never previously made your own bread, Indian flatbreads are a good starting point.

Dal: A dhal (or dal, or indeed daal) has something uniquely nourishing, and we can not think of many other ways to elevate a humble pulse to such dizzying flavor heights. However, since Indian cooking is so diverse and regional, the first bag of pulses you see is not as easy to pick up. Some dhal recipes require lentils that are split, and others need them entirely. Then there are different colors to choose from, with red (masoor), black (urad) and green lentils with different characteristics of flavor and texture.

Potatoes: Spuds carry plenty of flavor, are abundant and quick-time fill you up, so it’s no wonder they’re popular in Indian cooking. There’s no definitive recipe for spicy Bombay potatoes, although we’ve got a riff on it that’s woven peas for added veg credentials. Sag aloo’ means spinach and potato (infact, wherever you see aloo on a menu, you know you’re talking tatty), and this classic side dish contains a mixture of spices, garlic and ginger, fried until soft in a potato pan.