Chicken Tikka Masala


Tender chicken cooked on a griddle, then finished in a delicious rich cream sauce made with spices and a cashew nut paste.

This dish is said to have originated in the Moti Mahal Hotel Restaurant in Delhi where the chefs didn’t want to waste the leftover chicken from the tandoor. So to satisfy the British desire to have their meat served with gravy, they devised a creamy, luxurious sauce that would both keep the chicken deliciously moist and give it a new lease of life. Mind you, others say it was created in a Glasgow restaurant.

Whatever its origin, we do know for sure that it has become the UK’s national dish. I love the way this has been absorbed and adapted into British culture (and even exported back to India as it’s now popular there!). To see and be a part of a real food evolution is quite amazing… doesn’t taste half bad either.


  • 6 chicken thighs, cut into chunks


  •  ½ pepper, chopped into large chunks
  • ½ onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 tomato, chopped into large chunks


  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3cm piece ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 heaped tsp fenugreek
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil, to cook

Masala Sauce

  •  1 tbsp oil
  • 5cm stick cassia bark
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, minced or very finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaf (kasoori methi)
  • 100ml double cream
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped




  •  Blend the marinade spices and coat the chicken, (optional pepper, onion and tomato) for at least half an hour.

Masala Sauce

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cassia, cardamom, bay leaves, cloves and cumin seeds.
  • Once fragrant add onions and cook gently for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Add salt to taste then add the turmeric, minced ginger and garlic.
  • Pound the cumin and coriander seeds and stir into the pan with the chilli powder. Add a splash of water to stop the spices from burning.
  • Blitz the fresh tomatoes to a purée.
  • Blend the cashew nuts to a powder then stir into the tomatoes to make a paste.
  • Add this nut and tomato paste to the sauce with a little water and leave to cook for 10 minutes (add more water to loosen if required).
  • Place the marinated chicken and vegetables onto an oven tray and pour the mustard oil over them. Cook on 180oC for about 15-25 minutes until the chicken pieces are a little charred around the edges.
  • Once cooked place cooked chicken (and veg if using) into the sauce and stir. Leave this to cook for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the dried fenugreek, pour in a little cream, stir and remove from the heat. Throw in the coriander to serve.