Chicken Tikka Masala

Tikka Masala is one of those dishes that is incredibly famous and has been a favorite for years. Largely inspired by Indian flavors, this mild curry with a rich spiced tomato sauce is a perfect winter meal. So whether it’s your first time attempting this curry or you are a big fan of the dish and want to give it a try, here is a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala!

Preparation Time: 60 min | Cooking Time: 30-45 min | Serves: 2 | Spice level: 🌶


What you’ll need:

For the marinade

  • 100g natural yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3cm piece of ginger
  • 350-400g of chicken thighs

For the sauce

  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A dash of vegetable oil
  • 2 medium brown onions
  • 1/2 medium brown onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 2 green chili peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1 can (400ml) of diced tomatoes
  • 2 generous Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 50ml double/heavy cream

To assemble

  • A portion of basmati rice, cooked with star anise and cumin seeds
  • Chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • Toasted almonds



  • Start by cutting the chicken thighs into small pieces. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients to make the marinade: grate the garlic and ginger, mix it with the yogurt and all the spices and salt. Place the chicken in a large bowl along with the marinade and combine everything thoroughly (I would advise you to use your hands here, but preferably with some gloves, as turmeric powder can be quite difficult to wash from the skin). Once the marinade has been combined with the chicken, let this rest in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight if you can.
  • Once the chicken has almost marinated (this will depend on how long you want to marinate it for), preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  • Soak the cashew nuts in the milk and let this rest for as long as you can. It will be one of the last ingredients you will add to your sauce, so if you soak them once you start marinating the chicken, you won’t have any problems.
  • Roast the chicken in a baking tray for about 20 minutes. They will come out fragrant and with a light yellow color.
  • While the chicken is roasting, get started with the sauce. In a large deep pan or heavy pot, add a dash of vegetable oil and heat it up with the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Let the spices cook for a couple of minutes. Then chop your onions and add them to the oil, cooking them in medium heat until they become a caramelized brown. Then add the grated garlic and the ginger, along with the chopped green chilis. Let this cook for a little bit, stirring it on occasion.
  • Now add your can of chopped tomatoes along with the tomato paste and stir everything to combine. Cover your pot and let it cook for about 10 minutes, until it reduces and gets a little thicker. You can stir it on occasion as well.
  • Once the sauce has reduced, remove the hard spices (cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and the bay leaves) and add your powdered spices (coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala). Give it a good mix to combine the spices. You can also use a hand blender to whizz this sauce if you’d like.
  • At this point you should have your chicken ready, so put the chicken pieces in the sauce you have been making, combining the sauce with them.
  • Grind the cashew nuts with the milk they have been soaking on. Add this cashew paste to your sauce.
  • Now chop the halved onion and pepper into small cubes and add this to your pan. Add about 50ml of double/heavy cream as well and stir everything. The onion and bell pepper will give it a special crunch and the cream will help the sauce becoming even more velvety.
  • Serve with some basmati rice (cooked normally per packet instructions), toasted almonds and chopped coriander/cilantro leaves.
  • Enjoy!


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