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Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala | The Culinary Compass

I’ve always loved Indian food and their amazing spices so I finally decided to try making a dish a few years ago. I chose this Chicken Tikka Masala and have been in love with it ever since. 

The warming spices and the cool creamy tomato based sauce with some naan is definitely a recipe I keep coming back to. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and some spices to make it so tender when you eat it with the sauce. It can be marinated as long as overnight or I just marinade it while I’m putting together the sauce.

Chicken Tikka Masala | The Culinary Compass Chicken Tikka Masala | The Culinary Compass

I was so excited about making this Chicken Tikka Masala the first time that I Google’d it to look up the origins and from where in India it came from. Much to my surprise.. It’s most likely not from India. I know! I was shocked too.

One version of the story.. (and this is from the internet so you know how reliable those sources are sometimes) …is that at an Indian restaurant in Glasgow a bus driver came into the shop and ordered chicken curry. The owner of the shop was eating tomato soup and the bus driver asked to put his curry and spices into the tomato soup. The bus driver loved it, kept coming back, and told his friends about it so it’s been a hit ever since.

Chicken Tikka Masala | The Culinary Compass

It’s a hit with my family too just because of the simplicity of the sauce, but all of the flavors that aren’t like anything else that’s typically on my menu. It’s also very mild in terms of heat so if spicy isn’t your thing, this could be a great way to start introducing Indian flavors to your palate!

You can also top it with more cilantro and plain yogurt if you’re looking to add more flavor. It’s a great dish on it’s own or throw it over some Basmati rice or serve it with naan (or both) and enjoy!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

An easy and delicious Chicken Tikka Masala.



  • 1 lb chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/2 tbsp for cooking chicken
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger, (grate a 1-inch piece if using fresh)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 10.75 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Naan and/or Basmati rice for serving


  1. For the chicken: Place chicken, yogurt, 2 tbsp olive oil, lime juice, and garlic into a bowl and mix together to coat well. Let sit.
  2. For the sauce: Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat and add in onion once melted and let cook until browned and translucent, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine coriander, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and add in spice mixture stirring well. Add in tomato puree, water, half and half, and salt and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce to simmer while the chicken cooks.
  3. Cooking chicken: Over medium heat, heat olive oil in large pan. Cook the chicken pieces until done making sure sides are browned. Each side should take 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add cooked chicken to sauce and allow to simmer together for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve over Naan or basmati. (or both!) Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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Adapted from Epicurious.


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Sam Ellis

Hey there! I'm Sam and if there are two things I love most in this world, it's food and travel... and my dog, Tucker. I'm using my little corner of the internet to explore everything I love and I'd love for you to join me!

Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

Saturday 16th of March 2019

Made this last night. It was BOMBBBBBB.


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