Tikka Masala


Backstory:  Tikka masala was invented somewhere in the early 1970’s in Great Britain when a diner who was eating at an Indian restaurant asked for some gravy for his sauceless chicken tikka or tandoori chicken.  The chef quickly whipped up a sauce using tomatoes, cream and some spices and Voila-chicken Tikka Masala was born!


Now this story is not without dispute.  There are also claims for the creation of this dish from India with some saying that Tikka Masala is simply a variant of *Butter chicken.

*I have tried both and they are somewhat similar but I think different enough to be unique dishes on their own.

There is also a very strong claim for the creation of  chicken Tikka Masala in Glasgow, Scotland.  In 2009, a local MP, Mohammed Sarwar, asked for official European Union recognition through a “Protected Designation of Origin”.  It would have put Glasgow’s chicken tikka masala on a par with Parma’s Parmesan cheese or French ‘Champagne’.

I can attest to the popularity of chicken Tikka Masala in Glasgow.  We visited Glasgow in 2002 and I saw chicken Tikka Masala on the menu in almost every type of restaurant so I set myself a challenge to eat just chicken Tikka Masala for the day.

I am all about crazy challenges-case at hand- this blog challenge!

I had chicken Tikka Masala over mashed potatoes from a food court for breakfast.  Chicken Tikka Masala over french fries from a take out cafe for lunch and finally (you guessed it!)-chicken Tikka Masala over rice at a local pub.



They were all slightly different but equally delicious.  In case you haven’t deciphered, I really, really love chicken Tikka Masala and it was so enjoyable to discover all the different ways to eat it.

Breakdown: To make an authentic Chicken Tikka Masala, you first have to marinate chicken pieces in a spicy yogurt mixture-essentially prepping the chicken for tandoori or chicken tikka.



Traditionally, the chicken is then grilled in a tandoor (clay oven) and I would be very surprised if you had one of these laying about your house so most home cooks will have to settle for a regular oven.



Then you make the masala or sauce using tomatoes, cream and a combination of Indian spices.  It is a multi step and labor intensive process.  There really is no easy recipe for a true chicken Tikka Masala.

I have made chicken tikka masala the traditional way (minus the tandoor).  I have also tried many other different methods and short cuts and there are some very good recipes that come close so I will share several recipes with you and you can decide for yourself which one you are most energetic to try.



Please click on the links to follow the recipes.  Easiest traditional recipe for chicken Tikka Masala.  There are lots of recipes that use yogurt for the masala but I think thick, full cream is the way to go.  It really thickens the sauce to make that winning spicy and sweet combination.



Lazy person’s or slow cooker chicken Tikka Masala.



Finally-the really, really lazy person’s chicken Tikka Masala -Patak’s Tikka Masala paste!  I have tried this on week nights and it actually is quite good.  My family loves this mix almost as much as the traditional recipe but my family also didn’t grow up with as rigorous a cook as my mom so you could say that they are easily pleased.  😉


10 comments to Tikka Masala

  • Raquel  says:

    Geez louise this post has made me sooo hungry!!
    I have to remember this before popping over to your blog.
    Or perhaps you should have a hazard sign on the banner:

    Warning: Do not read while hungry.

    Tikka Masala is amazing. I usually order Palak Paneer at Indian restaurants but my sister is the Tikka Masala queen and we always share 😀

    • Lila  says:

      Hmmm…hazard sign maybe fun! Glad you enjoy the pictures! 😉 Very glad your sister shares her Tikka Masala with you. Thanks as always for stopping by. :)

  • Michelle Wallace  says:

    Ooh, I love chicken tikka…
    Those pictures are fantastic!
    Non-stop posts of mouth-watering images… mmm… is that what your A to Z visitors have been subjected to for the last 21 days? Bombarded by all sorts of deliciousness?

    • Lila  says:

      Thank you for dropping by! This challenge has been a great walk through memory lane for my childhood favorite eats. Glad most readers have enjoyed the photos. :)

  • Nana Prah  says:

    I associate the dish with India. I’m ignoring the other stories.
    Nana Prah

    • Lila  says:

      You always make me smile! :) Have I mentioned how much I have enjoyed visiting your blog too? :) :) :)

  • Corinne  says:

    Lila, Yet another one of my favorites. Good stuff!

    • Lila  says:

      I am glad we have similar favorites! You must have a discerning palette! 😉

  • Sunni Morris  says:

    Hmmm…I’ve never tried this either but it looks really good. I’m not much of a cook so I would probably settle for your second recipe. I don’t spend hours in the kitchen if I don’t have to.


    • Lila  says:

      Tikka masala is one of my all time favorites and I have tasted my share of varied cuisines! The slow cooker version is actually quite good and definitely worth a try! Or better still- try this dish if you ever come across an Indian restaurant. :)

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