Recipe Index

British Isles | Chicken Tikka Masala

Posted on April 5, 2013

The U.K. loves it's curry. It's estimated to be over a £billion a year industry. The first time that I had curry was with a friend from the U.K. We ate at an ornately decorated Indian restaurant in Santa Barbara about 30 years ago. The sites and smells were all new to me, but he assured me that I would love it. And I did. I've been eating curry ever since.

Yield: 6 servings

chicken tikka masala


100 grams plain yoghurt, plus 120 grams extra to serve

4 skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 2cm chunks

2 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) or sunflower oil

2 large onions, sliced

1 large red pepper, deseeded and sliced

800 grams tinned chopped tomatoes

coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve

cooked rice, to serve

poppadoms or naan bread, to serve

mango chutney, to serve



1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil

2 tablespoons tomato purée (tomato paste)

2 fresh red chillies

a small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)

1 tablespoon desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons ground almonds

2 garlic cloves, peeled

a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled



1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds 



For the tikka paste, add the spices for toasting to a dry pan over a medium heat. Lightly toast for a few minutes until golden and aromatic. Remove the pan from the heat. Grind the toasted spices in a pestle and mortar until fine, or blitz in a food processor to make a powder. Mix the toasted spices with the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth paste.

Divide the paste between 2 bowls. In one, mix in the yoghurt and chicken pieces. Stir to coat, and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferable overnight.

Heat the oil and the rest of the paste in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes, until onions are soft but not browned.

Add the chicken and marinade, stir well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

Remove from the heat and stir in the extra yoghurt. Sprinkle the coriander leaves over the chicken tikka masala, then serve with a selection of rice, naan breads and popadoms.


(Ref. "Chicken Tikka Masala" recipe, Jamie magazine, page 107.)