Chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala

The Curry Guy
4 or more as part of a multi-course meal

When people order a chicken tikka masala, they know what they want, and if it isn’t just like they expect it to be, you can see the disappointment in their faces. The thing is, there are hundreds of recipes for this world-famous curry, but this British Indian Restaurant - BIR - combo should get you the result you’re looking for.

Some chefs add loads of coconut flour or block coconut whereas others leave the coconut out. Many people like this curry super sweet whereas others prefer it to be more savoury. So please use this, my favourite version, as a guide, adjusting the sweetness and coconut flavour to taste. Be sure to use tandoori chicken tikka for this one!


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons ghee, rapeseed oil
or seasoned oil
2 tablespoons Garlic and ginger paste
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons ground almonds
2 tablespoons coconut flour (optional)
6 tablespoons Tomato purée
2 tablespoons Mixed powder
2 tablespoons Tandoori masala
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
700ml Base curry sauce (large batch), heated
125ml cooking stock or spice stock (optional)
800g Tandoori chicken tikka, grilled
200ml single cream, plus a little more to finish
1 tablespoon red food colouring powder (optional)
1 lemon, juiced
small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek (methi) leaves
1 teaspoon Garam masala


  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. When small bubbles begin to appear, stir in the garlic and ginger paste; it will sizzle. Add the sugar, ground almonds and coconut flour (if using) followed by the tomato purée. This will cool the pan slightly.
  2. Swirl this all together into one big happy tomato party then stir in the mixed powder, tandoori masala and paprika, followed by 250ml of the base curry sauce. When the sauce begins to bubble, add the rest of the base curry sauce and let it simmer nicely for a few minutes. As it simmers, the sauce will begin to brown on the side of the pan. Stir this in from time to time.
  3. If you have some cooking stock from pre-cooked stewed chicken or spice stock, you can add it for extra flavour. Add the grilled chicken to the simmering sauce to heat through.
  4. When the sauce has cooked down to your desired thickness, add the cream and food colouring, if using, and simmer for a further couple of minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a little more base sauce, cooking stock or spice stock.
  5. To finish, taste and season with salt. If you like your CTMs sweet, add a little more sugar. Squeeze in the lemon juice and sprinkle with the chopped coriander, dried fenugreek leaves and the garam masala. A swirl of cream on top adds a nice finishing touch.


  • The two curries you see here tasted identical as they were from the same batch. The red version was done with red food colouring powder. That’s how the famous bright red colour of this famous curry is achieved.
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