Grilled Chicken tikka masala

Char marinated chicken on the grill for an amazing depth of flavour in this popular curry
By Cyrus Todiwala
Grilled Chicken tikka masala
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-5
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus overnight marinating
  • Effort: easy


For the marinade

  • 750 g chicken breasts, cubes, cut in 2.5cm pieces
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 lime, juice only
  • 100 g Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ginger, and garlic paste, mixed together
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground red chilli
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tbsp neutral oil, such as vegetable

For the masala

  • 1/2 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp butter, or more if you wish
  • 4 cm piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1-2 tbsp single cream, optional
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • paratha bread, to serve


1. For the marinade: wash and drain the chicken cubes well, if wished. Put them in a bowl, mix in the turmeric and lime juice and blend well. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

2. Mix the remaining marinade ingredients with the chicken and season with sea salt. Clean the edges of the bowl, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours at least, overnight if possible.

3. Preheat a grill to its very hottest, with the door shut to make it as hot as possible. Lightly grease or place a Teflon sheet or foil on your baking tray, then lay the chicken cubes on the tray, leaving a decent gap in between each. Grill until you have charring on the edges, about 4-6 minutes, but make sure not to over-cook the chicken or it will be dry. Remove and set aside.

4. For the masala: heat a large frying pan and gently toast the crushed cumin seeds. Remember this is not powdered cumin but crushed, which is done with a pestle and mortar to just a rough crushed pepper kind of texture. Keep shaking the pan to prevent the powdered bits from burning, then drop in the butter. When the butter froths, stir in the ginger, garlic and green chillies and fry until the garlic changes colour. Stir in the chopped onion and fry until soft. Pass the diced tomatoes through a sieve, retaining the pulpy juice. Add this juice to the pan, followed by the flesh of the diced tomatoes, then stir into the onion. When the tomato softens slightly, mix in the chicken to reheat, then the cream if using and the fresh coriander. Season to taste and serve with the bread.

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