Chicken Tikka Masala

Very similar to my vegan friendly, Cauliflower and Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe, this is the chicken version. Tikka Masala sauce is traditionally made with cream or full-fat yoghurt but I prefer using coconut milk. The choice is entirely yours. This recipe is super saucy, so make sure you have rice and naan for mopping it up. Also feel free to bulk up with more chicken, roasted cauliflower, sweet potato or/and chickpeas. Chicken thigh fillets make all the difference here as they are so tender. If you can't get your hands on some, be sure to marinate your chicken breast fillets for at least an hour. Grilling the chicken before adding to the sauce is a game-changer. The flavour is elevated in the curry due to the smokiness that is reminiscent of chicken cooked in a tandoori oven. A winner in my books. Enjoy! This wasn't a planned recipe post, but I had to snap it and share the recipe.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • 500 g free range chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) each of garam masala, cumin and paprika
  • Freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil for drizzling

Tikka Masala Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) minced red chillies (sambal oelek) or dried chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) grated ginger
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) each of ground coriander, garam masala, paprika
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) each of ground cumin and turmeric
  • 6 cardamom pods bashed
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 tin 400 ml full fat coconut milk or cream
  • handful of fresh coriander stems chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • +- 1 Tbsp 15 ml sugar or honey to taste

To serve:

  • Cooked basmati rice of your choice
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • Flaked almonds toasted
  • Chopped coriander


  • Place chicken thighs in a bowl with garam masala, cumin, paprika and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix until chicken is well coated. Allow to marinate while preparing the sauce.
  • Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and spices until fragrant.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, paste and +- 200 ml chicken stock. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk and coriander stems and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • The cardamom pods should float to the surface at this stage. Simply fish them out.
  • Use a stick blender and blitz the sauce until smooth and creamy. Simmer a little longer should you prefer a more viscous sauce.
  • Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
  • Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Grill the thighs in batches until slightly charred on the outside (but still raw).
  • Add browned chicken thighs and more fresh coriander to the simmering sauce and continue to cook over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve on basmati rice with toasted almonds and fresh coriander.


Grilled chicken thigh fillets and fresh coriander being added to homemade tikka masala sauce for a final simmer. Excuse the pug on the bottom right. Haha!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!