Chicken Tikka Masala

Prawn Tikka Photo

(Serves 4)

Although the list of ingredients may seem long, this delicious rich masala sauce can be rustled up in no time. It is best left for 24hrs for the flavours to develop and will keep for several days in the fridge.  The chicken is delicious but can be replaced with prawns (see photo), chunks of monkfish (in which case reduce the marinade time to about 30 minutes) or with a selection of vegetables that are tossed in the marinade and then stir fried before adding to the sauce. 

After making this once you may want to adjust the spices to suit your taste; especially increasing the chilli if you like it hot.  This dish is delicious served as part of a feast with  sourdough onion crispy fritters, stuffed sourdough naans, a cucumber and mint raita, and perhaps a delicious finely chopped salad of fresh tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, fresh coriander and lime juice, or some simple steamed spinach and a bowl of basmati rice.  

Any left-over masala sauce can be used to make a potato bhaji style dish; chop up some potatoes, fry them gently in some peanut oil; when the potatoes are crunchy and golden (and cooked!), drizzle over enough sauce to coat, then cook briefly and sprinkle with fresh coriander (or spinach) and a squeeze of lime juice.

 If you like your masala rich you can replace the yoghurt with double cream.



1 large             Red Onion, finely diced

Pinch               Malden Salt

2-3tbs              Organic Peanut Oil

4 cloves           Garlic, peeled

1-2                   Green or Red Chillis, deseeded and finely chopped or ½-1tsp chilli flakes

¼ tsp               Ground Turmeric or 2cm of fresh, peeled

2tsp                 Sweet Paprika

1tbs                 Ground Coriander

¼ tsp               Black Pepper, freshly ground

2cm                 Ginger, grated onto a piece of kitchen roll

6tbs                 Yoghurt, full cream made from goat, sheep or cow’s milk

4 large             Tomatoes (about 400g) roughly chopped or a tin of chopped tomatoes

¼ tsp               Garam masala

Small bunch    Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped



5                      Garlic, peeled and grated

2cm                 Ginger, grated and squeezed

1tsp                 Ground Cumin

1tsp                 Paprika

2g                    Malden Salt

½ tsp               Garam Masala

½ tsp               Turmeric

2tbs                 Lemon or Lime Juice, (1/2 a juicy lemon, probably 1 lime)

2tbs                 Greek Yoghurt

Pinch               Chilli flakes

1tbs                 Organic Peanut Oil


300-600g             Chicken (skinless thigh or breast)

Masala Sauce:

Heat a medium sized frying pan (a small non stick wok is perfect for this) and add the oil, followed by the onions and pinch of salt.  Stir fry until golden brown.  Add the chopped chilli and grate in the garlic, continue to cook for about 30 seconds.  Stir in the ground coriander, turmeric (if using fresh, grate straight into the pan), black pepper and paprika.  Squeeze in the ginger juice  (through the kitchen roll) and cook for a further minute.  Add a tablespoon of the yoghurt and fry till it has reduced to a thick sauce, continue to add the remaining yoghurt a spoonful at a time until you have a thick sauce. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer gently for about 20-30 mins, until they  start to break-up and any watery liquid has almost evaporated leaving a thick-ish chunky sauce.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly, then push the sauce through a sieve.  I find a metal spoon helps; about a tablespoon of ‘debris’ should remain in the sieve.  Refrigerate the sauce until required.


6-8 hours before serving: Cut the chicken into chunks.  Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the chicken pieces.  Refrigerate for 6-8 hours.  If you are using fish just marinate for 30 minutes prior to cooking.


To serve:

Preheat a grill to sizzling hot.  Thread some skewers with the chicken pieces, or lay the pieces loosely onto a tin foil lined grill pan, drizzle with peanut oil and cook each side, letting the edges catch in places until the chicken is cooked through– this will take about 6 minutes in total.  In the absence of a hot grill the chicken can be stir fried.

Reheat the sauce, add the garam masala and the fresh coriander, check the seasoning then and stir in the cooked chicken. Finish with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.            

Posted on: 3rd January