Chicken Tikka Masala – The Best Recipe?

Chicken Tikka Masala - The Best Recipe?
Chicken Tikka Masala - The Best Recipe?

Chicken Tikka Masala – The Best Recipe? It may be a bold question to ask but this is the best chicken tikka masala I’ve ever made.

There are a few recipes for the dish on this blog. This is the recipe I will be coming back to though!

The thing with this recipe is it uses a hotel style gravy as a base but uses the spices you would use to make a Makhani Gravy. Or another way of looking at it is it uses a Makhani style gravy but with added onions?

Whichever way you look at it, we’re off to a good start. A combination of Hotel and Makhani sauce means big flavour.

Chicen Tikka Masala - The Best Recipe?

Hotel Gravy vs Base Sauce

I could spend a lot of time explaining about hotel gravy and what it is. The fact of the matter is I’ve covered it elsewhere on the blog – ‘Hotel Gravy‘ you can have a read.

The main thing about it though is that the onions are browned and caramelised at the start of cooking. And it’s a bit more robust, flavourful and thicker. Because the onions are already caramelised, there is no need to reduce the sauce down on the highest heat possible, decorating the kitchen in the process!

Chicken Tikka Masala Doesn’t Have To Be Just Mild & Creamy!

I love Chicken Tikka Masala. I also love a little heat in my curries.

I make Chicken Tikka Masala to my taste. So I add extra chilli. You can add as little or as much chilli as you like! It’s you that’s eating it, make it how you want it!

I actually used some ‘Ome Made Mango & Hurtberry Chilli Jam in mine. Added towards the end it gave a nice boost of heat.

The thing with this recipe is that the gravy is robust enough to take that extra heat.

Just don’t forget…

Get Some Tang In Your Tikka!

Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. Get a good Tandoori Masala. If you make your own, you should be fine.

If you don’t make your own make sure you get a good quality mix. I obviously use ‘Ome Made Tandoori Masala. It’s not full of salt and has plenty of Amchoor (mango) powder to give it a good tangy flavour.

You also want your Chicken Tikka Masala to have a nice tang too.

For this recipe I’ve used lime juice (of course you can use lemon juice) as I find it has a little extra acidity. And to help things along it’s also got some tamarind. This extra citrusy, tangy flavour really helps cut through the creaminess and sweetness of the dish.

So, Chicken Tikka Masala – Best Recipe? Possibly!

Chicken Tikka Masala - The Best Recipe?

Chicken Tikka Masala

One of the UKs favourite curries. This version uses a hotel style gravy to give a rich & tangy curry. This take on the classic recipe is robust enough to up the spiciness to your own taste.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


Chicken Tikka

  • 700 g boneless chicken breast or thigh
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • water enough to make a thick paste

Hotel gravy

  • 2 medium onions sliced
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp Makhani Masala
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomato
  • 200 ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 4 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tbsp mild curry masala
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree diluted in 200 ml water
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut powder
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 150 ml double cream (Single or whipping can be used if preferred)
  • 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaf
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 small green pepper finely diced
  • 2 – 4 small finger chillies (optional) sliced or left whole and split.
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds (optional) toasted
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaf


Chicken Tikka

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients together
  • Dice the chicken in to roughly 1-inch pieces and add to the marinade. Leave for at least one hour. If leaving overnight, add the lime or lemon juice just before cooking.
  • To cook the tikka pre-heat a grill to moderate heat. heat a baking sheet or shallow roasting dish for 30 seconds under the grill. When hot add the chicken.
    place back under the grill, turn after 6 – 8 minutes and cook for another 6 – 8 minutes until nicely coloured.
    If the chicken isn't quite cooked through, don't worry it will finish off cooking in the curry.

Hotel Gravy

  • heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the onions and cook on a moderate heat, stirring regularly, until turning a deep brown colour. If it looks like they are going to burn, turn the heat to the lowest.
  • Once the onions are brown, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
    Chicen Tikka Masala - The Best Recipe?
  • Add the makhani masala and cook for 40 seconds.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, water, salt and sugar.
  • cook on a gentle heat for around 40 minutes then let cool slightly and blend with an immersion blender

Cooking The Curry

  • Put the coconut powder and ground almonds in a jug or bowl. Add enough hot water to make a loose paste.
    Chicken Tikka Masala sauce
  • Heat the oil in a pan or karahi.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook for around 30 seconds.
  • Turn the heat to the lowest and add the tandoori masala and curry masala. Cook for 40 seconds. If it's sticking add a splash of hot water.
  • Add the diluted tomato paste and reduce down to a thick paste.
  • Add the hotel gravy, stir and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken tikka. Continue to cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • Add the paste of coconut powder and ground almonds and stir in.
  • Add the lime or lemon juice, salt, tamarind, mango chutney and dried fenugreek leaf and stir in.
  • Add the cream and stir in. bring back to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • Add all the other ingredients, keeping a little flaked almonds and coriander back to garnish if you want, heat through for a couple minutes before serving


I used paneer as well as chicken. If you want to just reduce the amount of chicken, you use. Or for a vegetarian version use all paneer. Paneer can be marinated and cooked in the tandoori masala, just like chicken.
I also used ‘Ome Made Mango & Hurtberry Chilli Jam instead of mango chutney to give the dish some extra spice.
You can make it as hot as you like, a little Naga pickle along with the mango chutney would work well. 
Keyword B.I.R Chicken Tkka Masala, BIR, chicken, chicken curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Creamy curry, Indian Hotel Curry Sauce, Restaurant
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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