Indian Char-grilled Chicken Tikka Masala

By in category: India

chicken-tikka-masallaChicken Tikka Masala is absolutely one of my favourite Indian dishes – whether it be as a marinade, a dip, or as a full curry in it’s own right as in the recipe below.

The dish in the photo is served on a bed of rich and fragrant saffron rice, there really is no substitute for this combination, and once you’ve tried it, you’ll never want there to be either.

Although Tikka Masala is traditionally linked with chicken, there really is nothing to stop you experimenting with other fowl such as turkey or ostrich if you can get it.  Nor should you avoid trying it with good tender pork loin either – you will amaze guests or family when they realise how creative you’ve been.

Serves 4 to 5

Masala Sauce

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • up to 1/4 cup ghee
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground red chilli
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli paste
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cashew paste
  • 3/4 cup tomato purée


  1. Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter over medium-low heat until light golden brown.
  2. Add cumin, ground red chile, and coriander and mix it thoroughly. At any point, you may add more clarified butter if the sauce becomes too thick, but be cautious, because this recipe can easily become extremely rich.
  3. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the red chilli paste and cook for a few additional minutes, then the cashew paste and tomato purée.
  5. Cook over low heat, stirring, until thick.
  6. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to add chicken.

Grilled Marinated Chicken

  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 5/8 cup mustard oil
  • 1/2 cup ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons red chilli paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons “black salt” (a pinkish salt with trace minerals)
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala powder
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces (as near in shape to cubes as you can manage)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves or 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek


  1. Mix the first 7 ingredients plus 1 1/3 tablespoons of the garam masala powder, add chicken, and marinate for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat a charcoal grill and cook the marinated chicken on skewers, turning periodically, until almost cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill.
  3. Before serving, add the parcooked chicken, the remaining 2 teaspoons of garam masala powder, and salt to the masala sauce.
  4. Simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
  5. Just before removing from heat, stir in the cream and fenugreek.

Present with the basmati rice pilau.

That’s Cookin’

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