Chicken Tikka Masala


IMG_20141209_224049[1] 09/12/2014

The most popular curry in Britain, Marks & Spencer claim to sell 18 tonnes of CTM every week with an estimated 23 million portions sold in Indian restaurants each year. Its origins are disputed but chicken tikka masala is a national dish in Britain. It can come in many variations, some much more tempting than others. This recipe is a really flavourful take on the classic with a long marinating period for the tikka and fresh tangy ingredients for the masala sauce.


For the chicken tikka:

  • 675g (1lb 7oz) boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 3 heaped Tablespoons thick set natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

For the masala:

  • 2 Tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 2 medium onions, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 heaped Tablespoons thick set natural yoghurt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 350ml (12fl oz) chicken stock
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped coriander leaves


  1. Start by marinating the chicken tikka. Put the chicken in a large bowl and rub in the salt and lemon juice and set aside for 20 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, paprika, chilli powder, yoghurt and garam masala. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for six to eight hours or overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, make the masala. Pour the oil into a large, cast iron pan and set it over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the onions. Stir and fry until they brown, six or seven minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to fry for a minute. Add the ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and paprika. Stir for 10 seconds then add a tablespoon of yoghurt. Stir and fry until it is absorbed. Add the remaining yoghurt in this way, a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Now put in the tomatoes. Fry them for three to four minutes or until they turn pulpy. Add the stock and salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should turn thick. Stir in the coriander and garam masala.                               IMG_20141209_224334[1]
  4. Shortly before you are ready to eat, preheat the grill to its highest setting. Thread the chicken on to skewers then balance them on the rim of a shallow baking tray so the meat is suspended. Place about 13cm (5 inches) from the source of heat and grill for five to six minutes on each side. The chicken should be lightly browned, cooked through and charred in places. Cut a large piece of chicken and check the centre. There should be no traces of pink.                                  IMG_20141209_224212[1]
  5. When the tikkas are cooked, reheat the sauce and fold in the chicken. Serve immediately with rice, dal or Indian breads of your choice.                                    IMG_20141209_224125[1]

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