This is the best chicken tikka masala recipe ever! It tastes just like the restaurant and will fool even the most avid takeaway aficionado. Rich and creamy with tender chicken nuggets, this chicken tikka masala recipe has been perfected over the years to be simply the best!
Get ready to amaze your taste buds
Chicken tikka masala is a gateway drug.
Never having tasted spicy and sour rassam, never dunking a crunchy piece of pakora in bright green chutney, never fighting over the last gulab jamun in order, most of us start with chicken tikka masala. It is considered the official dish of the UK and is almost certainly the first unofficial order in the world. Maybe it’s the description in the menu:
- Mesquite Grilled Chicken-Tikka cooked with Peppers, Onions in Tomato Butter Sauce
- Chicken tikka prepared in tomato cream sauce.
- Chicken tikka nuggets cooked in a creamy sauce with fresh tomato and exotic spices.
I see a few words in each of these descriptions, right? Tomato. Cream. Butter.
Newbies to Indian cuisine across the country are pointing to that menu item, stating “It couldn’t be bad.” And oh, they’re so very wrong.
This recipe for chicken tikka masala is probably the most heavenly dish on the face of the planet if you ask me (and you are, right?). The intoxicating mix of spices, slow cooker onions and garlic, the creamy and buttery sauce of my goodness – instantly attracts most newbies to Indian food, converting them for life
Problem is, a restaurant-style chicken tikka masala recipe is strangely difficult to make at home. No, I take it back; is really hard to find. I’ve been working on nailing it for over a decade, with no real luck. Sure, the recipes I made were great, great take on Indian curries. But did they taste like restaurant-style chicken tikka masala? It was the improve Chicken tikka masala recipe? Not exactly. It was just there something is missing.
So, a while ago, I decided to do some research on what restaurants are really doing to produce that incredible dish. I’ve read a lot of theory, different elements that combine to create the dish you know and love. I paired these new techniques with a recipe that I was developing and, more importantly, that I had very low expectations.
And so, when I tasted that first bite, it was a real treat when I realized I had done it. Finally, the restaurant-style chicken tikka masala recipe I dreamed of! Slow cooked onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices; half and half rich and creamy; intoxicating spices and fenugreek. He has passed every previous attempt I had made with flying colors.
What makes this recipe so good
- It uses authentic caramelization processes to make a tikka masala che it tastes like the restaurant.
- IS rich and creamy and soft and spicy and perfect.
- There are also healthier options, like Whole30, paleo, and dairy-free optionsmaking it super healthy and practicable even for restrictive diets.
Do not skip the caramelization process both with the aromas and with the tomato sauce. If you do, you’ll end up with a less than Indian curry and not the best chicken tikka masala recipe ever! Seriously, if you do this and find out it’s not the the best everyou haven’t caramelized it long enough!
I repeat: don’t skip the caramelization process!
I used full-fat yogurt as a marinade, but if you’re paleo or on a Whole30, you can skip it without losing too much of it. And if you’re dairy-free, use 2 cups of solid coconut cream instead of 2 half-and-half cups.
Where can i find fenugreek leaves?
Fenugreek leaves are optional but oh, they put the dish on top. Use them if you can find them! I bought a large box in an Asian market and barely made a dent in it. If you like Indian food, you will be super happy to have a box of fenugreek leaves at home. I also use them in my chicken saag recipe and they really take things over the edge.
Is Chicken Tikka Masala Healthy?
This chicken tikka masala recipe is healthy! Use real, whole foods.
This chicken tikka masala also has dairy-free options and works for a Whole30 or paleo diet. It’s gluten-free and grain-free, contains no sugar, and has nothing processed! All true love of food.
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Make the sauce
Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano peppers, garlic, ginger and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a nice caramel color is obtained, for about 20 minutes, adding a few drops of water here and there if it dries and sticks. Add the garam masala and paprika and mix well. Cook until fragrant, a few minutes, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if necessary to reduce attachment.
Combine the tomato sauce, then transfer to a blender and whisk until smooth. Return the sauce to your pan. Add the sliced pepper, fenugreek and salt.
Meanwhile, cook the chicken. Preheat the grill and place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Place the chicken pieces on top of the grill. Grill, turning occasionally until golden in spots and cooked through, about 8 minutes in total.
Simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat or until thick and more like pasta than sauce. Add the cream and mix until the mixture is very smooth. Correct taste and seasonings. Add the chicken, mix well and serve over basmati rice or cauliflower and naan. Top with plenty of chopped coriander.
- Mild: 1 serrano pepper, seeded
- Medium: 1 serrano pepper, seeded
- Heat: 2 serrano peppers, seedless
If you’re on a Whole30 …
- You can use compliant non-dairy yogurt, such as unsweetened Kite Hill, to marinate the chicken. You can also skip the yogurt completely and simply marinate the chicken with spices and lemon juice, or use canned coconut milk as a substitute for yogurt.
- Use 2 cups of coconut cream (just the solid white part of a can of coconut milk or cream) in place of the half-and-half.
- Serve over steamed cauliflower rice, not regular rice.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 459kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 42g, Saturated fats: 26g, trans fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 164mg, Sodium: 96mg, Potassium: 373mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1470IU, C vitamin: 21mg, Soccer: 119mg, Iron: 1mg, Net carbohydrates: 8g
The number of total portions displayed is approximate. Actual number of servings wit will depend on the portion size you prefer.
The nutrition facts shown are general guidelines and reflect the information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on the specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of a serving, prepare the recipe as indicated. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. The result will be the weight of one serving.
I use powdered deggi mirch, which is similar to paprika but a bright red, in my chicken tikka masala. It gives the dish a bright hue and a particularly authentic restaurant taste. I highly recommend ordering a box if you make Indian food, such as my chana masala, butter chicken or chickpea tikka masala, with any kind of regularity!
Fenugreek is native to South Asia and Southeast Europe. The leaves taste like a combination of fennel and celery.
The leaves have a much milder flavor than the seeds, so I would simply recommend omitting the fenugreek or starting with a very small amount if you only have the seeds. (Unless you absolutely love their taste!)