Madhur Jaffrey's Chicken tikka masala

Theres plenty of cream, lemon and garlicky flavours in this tasty Indian-Brit favourite
By Madhur Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey's Chicken tikka masala
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus 8 hours marinating
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken tikka

  • 675 g boneless, skinless chicken, thighs or breasts, cut into 2.5 cm chunks
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp chilli powder
  • 6 tbsp whipping cream
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil

For the masala

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 140 g onions, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 350 ml chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 4 tbsp coriander leaves

Tips and Suggestions

When you think the chicken is ready, cut a large piece of chicken to the centre to check there is no trace of pink.

Serve with rice or naan bread.


1. For the chicken tikka: Put the chicken in a bowl and rub in 1¼ teaspoon salt and the lemon juice. Prod the chicken pieces lightly with the tip of a knife and rub the seasoning in again, then set aside for 20 minutes.

2. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, paprika, chilli powder, whipping cream and garam masala. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, though longer will not hurt.

3. For the masala: Pour the sunflower oil into a large, preferably non-stick, lidded pan and set it over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Stir and fry until they brown, for 6-7 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to fry, stirring, for a minute.

4. Add the ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and paprika. Stir for 10 seconds, then add a tablespoon of yogurt. Stir and fry until it is absorbed. Add the remaining yogurt in this way, a tablespoon at a time.

5. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until they turn pulpy. Add the stock and ¼ teaspoon salt, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should turn thick.

6. Stir in the garam masala and coriander leaves, taste and add more salt if you need it. Shortly before you eat, preheat the grill to its highest setting.

7. Thread the chicken onto 2-4 skewers - the flat, sword-like ones are best. Brush with 3 tablespoons of oil and balance the skewers on the rim of a shallow baking tray, so that the meat is suspended and does not touch the tray. Place about 13cm (5 inches) from the source of heat and grill for 6 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned, cooked through and charred in places.

8. When the chicken skewers are cooked, reheat the sauce and fold in the chicken. Serve immediately.

For more ideas, take a look at our easy curry recipes

Photography ©Jean Cazals

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