Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

You can make this Indian dish at home, keep reading!

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Spices tikka masala

Photo by Pratiksha Mohanty on Unsplash

This favorite recipe begins our series here on “What’s for Dinner?” I will be posting weekly recipes with step-by-step instructions. Feel free to add them to your dinner repertoire.

Chicken Tikka Masala is one of our favorite dinners to make around here. When I first starting making this, I followed the recipe strictly by the book. Nowadays I have altered it mostly for heat/spice. Some ingredients I have omitted because I don’t notice a change in flavor without them.

As my kids get older, they could tolerate a spicier dish. You can make this as hot or as “not” as you like. I will tell you where to make changes to lessen the heat.

The Chicken Tikka Masala takes us about 30 minutes start to finish. That is with two people chopping and measuring. You could also prepare your curry the night before and marinate your chicken if you like to save time. That would make it a 15-minute meal if you plan ahead.

Beautiful exotic spices
Photo by Agnieszka Kowalczyk on Unsplash

Prepare your curry paste

I like to make things from scratch for a few reasons. First, I like to know where it came from, if I make it then I know. Secondly, it usually tastes better made at home. But I’m all about convenience if there is no compromising taste.

That being said, at this point, you could buy a jar of Tikka Masala sauce from your grocery store. This is a popular curry and most places carry it. I have tried it and I wouldn’t say it was worth the convenience. I take the extra 10 minutes and make it myself.

You will need a food processor or a lot of elbow grease for curry. I use this manual Mini-processor from the Pampered Chef and it is perfect for this work. Alternatively, you can just use a fork and mix it. This paste will become thick and form a ball when it’s completely mixed. Let’s get to it.

Curry paste ingredients

  • cumin seed (1 tsp.) or 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • coriander seed (1 tsp.) or 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 red chile peppers, seeded & ribbed (adjust for your preference)
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika (smoked is best)
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust for your preference)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed with a garlic press (preferred) or smashed, chopped fine
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped fine
  • Cilantro (2 Tbsp fresh leaves chopped) or dried 1 Tbsp

If you are using cumin and coriander seed, take the large pan that you will use for the curry and toss those spices into it dry. Turn on the heat to medium-high and toast those seeds. Toasting should take less than 3 minutes until you can smell their fragrance. Keep the pan moving so they don’t burn. Swirl them around until fragrant. Crush them in a mortar with a pestle.

Now you will take all of your ingredients and put them in the food processor or bowl for combining them. Give them a good mix until it clings together forming a ball.

Now your curry past is complete. You can chop your chicken up into 1 inch pieces and add it to the paste. Coat all the chicken with the paste and set it aside.

Start your curry

Ingredients for the curry

  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 1 chile pepper seeded/ribbed and chopped fine (omit this if you want it mild)
  • 1/2 inch of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces and coated in the curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk (14 ounces)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • cilantro garnish (optional)
  • plain yogurt garnish (optional)

In a large 10 or 12-inch skillet or wok, you will saute your onions and peppers in the olive oil until the onions are translucent and soft, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Do not let them turn brown.

Add in your chicken coated in the curry paste and stir until the chicken until it turns from pink to white. Then add in your coconut milk, mix well. Once your curry begins to boil again, add tomatoes. You may want to temporarily turn up the heat after added the cold items. But then go back to medium.

Let this cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes depending on how thick you would like it to be. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get.

Mehindi on hands

Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

Served traditionally over rice

Serve the curry over a bed of rice with yogurt and cilantro on the side for taste. (The yogurt also neutralizes some of the heat for the more sensitive palates.) Naan bread on the side is perfect with this dish.

I hope you will try this today. Embrace the food of other cultures, you will broaden your palate to new tastes. This is a worldwide favorite. It is one of our family’s as well. Enjoy!

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe. Please join me in trying new recipes and saving money. Check out the Cooking Section for more recipes and money saving tips.

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