Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is from Atul Kocchar’s Simple Indian cookbook. It has been a super hit in our household and I have made it many a time for friends and family. I have always made tandoori chicken first and then made the chicken tikka masala. The chicken is twice cooked, the trick being to cook the chicken slightly under the first time when you make the Tandoori chicken. You can buy ready made tandoori chicken but honestly it is worth the effort to make it at home. I have adapted the recipe to suit our palates so the end result is medium spiced chicken tikka masala. The photo does not do justice – it is a case of ugly delicious.


1.2kgs tandoori spice roasted chicken

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

7cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 x 400 grams tins of Italian tomatoes

30 grams butter

1 large onion, finely sliced

2-3 green chillies, slit lengthways

1 teaspoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves available in an Indian store)

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

½ teaspoon hot chilli powder

½ teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2 tablespoons honey

Salt to taste

4 tablespoons fresh single cream

2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves


Cut the roast chicken pieces in half, to give 8 pieces. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the ginger and sauté for a minute, then add the tomatoes and 200ml water. Cook over a low heat for 35-40 minutes until the tomatoes break down to form a sauce. Using an immersion blender, blitz the tomatoes until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve and set aside.

Heat the butter in a clean pan and sauté the onion for 3 minutes until light brown in colour. Add the green chilli and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and add the Kasuri methi, garam masala, chilli powder, honey and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes to allow the spices to blend the sauce, then add the cream and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces and simmer for 10 -15 minutes until the chicken is heated through. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with pulao rice.

Cook’s notes: For purposes of a photo, I made this dish with drumsticks and chicken thighs. My family told me that it is much better with just the thighs.


1.2kgs chicken (I used a combination of skinless, boneless thigh fillets and drumsticks)

Oil and melted butter, to baste

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon ginger – garlic paste

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

Salt to taste


250 grams thick natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon garam masala

100ml vegetable oil

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

Salt to taste

Cut the thigh fillets into 2 pieces. Remove the skin on the drumsticks. Place in a shallow dish. Mix the lemon juice with the ginger-garlic paste, salt and chilli powder. Spread all over the chicken and set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the spiced yoghurt marinade. Coat the spiced yoghurt mixture and set aside to marinate for a minimum of two hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put the chicken on a rack resting in a roasting tray and roast for 12-15 minutes. Take out of the oven and baste with the butter and oil mixture. Return the chicken to the oven and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until it is cooked. Remove and rest on the rack for 5 minutes or so. Use as per recipe or serve on its own.



1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium sized onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

20-25, mint leaves

1 tablespoon ghee

250 grams Basmati rice, thoroughly rinsed

½ cup peas, thawed if frozen

Salt to taste


Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed sauté pan. Fry the onions on medium heat, until golden brown. Set aside.

In the same pan, add the ghee. When hot, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the mint leaves and rice. Fry for a few minutes. Add salt and 500 ml water. Bring it to a boil and turn heat to low. Cook for 12-15 minutes until rice is cooked completely. You can sprinkle some extra water if the rice is too al dente.

Once rice is cooked, stir the peas through the rice. Cover and rest rice for five minutes. Just before serving sprinkle the fried onions.

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