Chicken Tikka Masala is the most popular Indian takeout curry but did you know it’s actually very easy to make at home?!! Tender chicken pieces cooked in a mild and creamy tomato curry sauce. Pure comfort food!
If you loved my Butter Chicken, you will appreciate this curry recipe just as much. Quick and flavour- packed!
You will know about my undying love for curries if you’ve been following me for a while. I have a whole recipe category dedicated to them! As a busy mum, I appreciate the convenience of a takeout as anyone else. Surprisingly, my kids prefer the homemade version of this curry to the restaurant takeout!
I thought I’d share my recipe with you, my friends. Since it’s so popular at home I am guessing you will love it as well.
And as much as we all love chicken, this version works particularly well when the chicken is combined with chickpeas. This way we are eating less meat and more fibre. Better for us and the environment.
What is Chicken Tikka Masala?
The dish, just like Mulligatawny Soup, has a shared Indian and British heritage. The story goes that it was invented in the UK by an Indian chef at the request of a customer, who felt like his chicken needed “gravy”. So very British!
The chef added a mild tasting tomato cream sauce to the chicken and the legendary curry was born. I believe it is so popular because the dish, in so many ways, is reminiscent of what the Brits like to eat.Light spicing, tender chicken chunks and plenty of creamy sauce.
It is also very popular with children. My own kids started eating Indian food because Chicken Tikka Masala as well as Chicken Korma are often served for school lunches in the UK. From those delicious and mild curries they were able to move on to spicier, spunkier ones!
You might be thinking at this point that you’d love it too if only Indian food didn’t require so many spices! Fear not, this recipe uses a pre-made curry paste, and is a snap to make at home!
No need to go out and buy a collection of spices when you can simply purchase a high quality curry paste, made by experts! So much more convenient and authentic tasting.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- First of all, let me tell you that the quality of the curry paste you use is very important since we are solely relying on it for the taste of the dish. Note that I use a paste, not a jarred sauce. My personal preference is Patak’s brand. It’s international and could be found in many countries and supermarkets.
- Secondly, I know that adding chickpeas aka garbanzo beans is not traditional but hear me out. They do add a wonderful texture and, beneficial for us, fibre. Using them cuts the use of chicken in half. The dish because cheaper and tastier!
- Finally, do marinate your chicken in a mix of the Tikka Masala curry paste and plain yogurt. It accomplishes two things. Marinade flavours the chicken and also tenderises it.
- The recipe process is very straightforward. I used cubed chicken breasts but chicken thighs are also delicious, and are my personal preference. If you want this dish to be vegetarian, you can use Indian fresh cheese Paneer. Here is the recipe for Paneer Tikka Masala from our vegetarian website The Veg Connection.
- To make the sauce creamy, a small amount of heavy cream is added at the very end. You can use coconut milk or soya single cream for a dairy free alternative.
This curry is absolutely delicious with plain basmati rice or coconut rice. I also always have either naan bread or chapatis on the side.
More Indian Dishes to Try:
- Kofta Curry (Meatball Curry)
- Chickpea and Butternut Squash Curry
- Cauliflower and Potato Curry (Aloo Gobi)
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts cubed
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt Not Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp tikka masala curry paste not jarred sauce
- 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 cloved garlic minced
- 125g/1/2 cup Tikka Masala curry paste
- 400ml/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
- 250g/1 ½ cups drained canned chickpeas
- 125ml/1/2 cup double cream
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- In a medium bowl mix 2 tbsp of plain yogurt with 1 tsp of Tikka Masala paste and add cubed chicken breasts. Marinade for at least 30 minutes.
- In a deep pan heat the ghee or oil and fry the chopped onion, garlic and ginger together over low heat for 10 minutes. Then add the curry paste and cook while stirring for a minute or until the aroma is released.
- Add the chicken with the marinade to the pan and cook until the outside of each piece is sealed but not cooked all the way through. Then add the canned tomatoes, drained canned chickpeas, stir to combine, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes covered with a lid.
- Add the double cream and the sugar, stir and cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes longer until the sauce is thick and desired consistency. Add salt if needed. (There is salt in the curry paste, so only add extra salt if necessary.)