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Chicken Tikka Masala---Restaurant Style

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Actually I didn't use yogurt. When I make it at home for a normal meal---I only use curd, and no cream. I made this version to figure out how to get that restaurant taste--and it's kind of cheating, actually.

First, I make a curry base---I make this in bulk and freeze whatever I don't use (this is what restaurants in America do, and I've gotta say...it's convenient!!!) I know my mother-in-law would probably laugh at me using frozen gravy...but it really is a time-saver. ---and no, I don't cook with it all the time!

Recipe for Curry base: (check out my blog post HERE for photos or additional info)

this base is meant to be a little bland. It is added--along with other ingredients--to make really quick and flavorful curries. I also don't usually measure---so you can mess around with the spices to make them suitable to your tastes.

The spice mix:

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (this is not hot, it mostly just gives color)
  • 1 small 1″ piece of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 green Cardamom pods- crushed
  • 1 large bayleaf

Mix all spices together in a bowl. Take a smell…they should smell a little pungent, but mostly good! The smell will change a lot once they’re added to the oil/ghee. Set your masala mix aside.


  • 10 onions- baseball sized- sliced pretty thin
  • 1 carrot – peeled and chopped (use 2 if you want!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 10 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used Hunts brand canned tomatoes)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp. ghee
  • salt/pepper to taste (I added a little salt, but left out pepper. I can add this to the individual curries I make)


  • Heat oil and ghee in a large pan, over medium high heat. Once it’s nice and hot, toss in your masala mix. Fry the spices-being careful nothing burns. Stir around a while until everything is nice and fragrant…and no longer raw. Add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for a minute or so, just until it lets off a nice smell. Add the onions. Mix everything together really well so that the onions are covered with the masala.
  • While the onions cook down, slice the red bell pepper and grate the carrot. Once the onions have gone soft and translucent (they will also shrink quite a lot), add the bell pepper and carrot.
  • Cook the vegetables until they go soft (you could also toss in about a cup of shredded cabbage, if you want). Once the vegetables have softened properly, add the tomatoes and water to the mixture. Stir everything together, mixing well.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about a half hour. Once it’s well cooked and all the flavors have had a little time to mingle, pull out your blender. Working in batches (I had to do three batches), blend the mixture into a smooth, creamy looking gravy.
  • Pour all the gravy back into the pan and simmer for about 15 to 20 more minutes. You can taste the gravy—it’ll be a little bland will desperately need salt. Fear not! This under-seasoned gravy will go on to become many, many great curries!
  • Once you’ve let everything cool for a while, pour it into containers to freeze/use. You can keep it in your fridge for a few days, but any longer you should freeze it. It’ll keep really well, I promise!

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Chicken Tikka Masala--(American) Restaurant Style:

(serves 6, generously)


  • 1 lb chicken breast, diced and marinated (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (sub. veg. oil)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic – smashed and diced fine
  • 1 inch ginger – smashed and diced fine
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoon fresh fenugreek leaves (leave out if you can’t find)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • red chilli powder, to taste –taste as you add! Sometimes, less is more!!!!!
  • juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • 3 cups curry gravy base – (recipe here)
  • 1/2 c. half & half
  • milk, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


Chicken Marinade:

  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. paprika (this shouldn’t be hot. It’s mostly for color)
  • 1 tsp. ground chile pepper (I use Kashmiri)
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • a little red food coloring—if you want
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • approximately 1 lb. chicken breast – cut into bite size pieces

Combine all ingredients, except chicken, together in a bowl. Whisk until everything is mixed together. Add the chicken. Put the mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours—preferably overnight.

When you’re ready to cook it, you can put it on skewers and grill it–or you can use your broiler. Heat the oven to Broil. Put the chicken pieces on a rack over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Put them in the oven and broil until they start turning a little black on the edges and look dry. The chicken won’t actually be dry, the yogurt in the marinade will help keep that from happening.

When it’s done, it should look a little like this:


Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Once it gets warm, add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, turmeric, coriander powder, and garam masala. Stir until everything becomes fragrant and dry.

Toss in the garlic and ginger. Cook for about a minute before adding the tomato paste, red chilli powder and fenugreek leaves (I think fenugreek and nutmeg are *secret* ingredients). Stir everything together.

Add the butter and 3 cups curry gravy base and whisk everything together. Once it’s smooth, add the lemon juice and half & half. Transfer the curry to a blender and blend until smooth (this can be skipped if you don’t mind a few little chunks). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the cooked chicken and let the curry simmer for about 15 minutes. It’ll thicken slightly, use milk to thin…if you’d like. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with rice or rotis.

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I used the leftover Chicken Tikka masala to make the world's best pizza! It's so good...I wish there was a competition I could enter, it would definitely win!!!

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The chicken tikka masala does look very restaurant like. nice.

Pizza is amazing.

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Now that's what I call a Pizza, thin crust which means I can eat more pieces compared to the thicker crusts which I can usually eat only 2 pieces.

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