Chicken tikka masala is one of those dishes that pleases everyone’s palettes. Featuring our favourite tandoori style chicken tikka recipe and a chunky, sweet and spicy tomato, cream sauce. Get your curry on with your favourite bread, scoop up a piece of that succulent chicken and chomp on.
Chicken Thighs or Chicken Breast?
Chicken thighs are my first choice if I am planning a special meal. It is much more tender and does not have the potential to try out as chicken breast does. Also, due to the fat content, the thighs are practically self-basting and don’t require additional help like chicken breast.
On the other hand, chicken breast is great if you want a quick lunch or if you are looking to get the extra boost of protein. It still tastes great with this marinade and can be substituted easily. See it in action in my Deconstructed Tikka Masala Bowl which is perfect for a healthy lunch that will satisfy your chicken tikka masala cravings!
A combination of the two can work as well, just keep in mind that chicken breast and thighs have varying cooking times.
Puréed or Not?
A quick Google search for chicken tikka masala will show you pictures that look so good, you may wanna lick your screen. Now, try another Google search for butter chicken. Do you notice anything?
You cannot pick them apart, both look the same.
While they don’t taste the same, from my experience pureeing the sauce takes away from the “masala” part of chicken tikka masala. This in no way is a traditional recipe for chicken tikka masala, if that even exists, since the history of this dish reportedly has multiple origins. But, this recipe attempts to set itself apart and go head on against any butter chicken without impersonating the latter.
The best way to describe this gravy would be a thick, creamy and chunky gravy with onions, tomatoes and chicken tikka.
Tips for the best chicken tikka masala ever
Here are some essential tips to keep in mind in order to make the best Chicken Tikka Masala you’ve ever had! Yes, after making this recipe, I quite literally believe this is the best I’ve ever had in my life – not to kiss my own butt or anything 🙂
Sauté the veggies at a very high heat in order to get a nice char on them. They won’t be mushy, but they’ll become a little soft.
Keep stirring the tomatoes so that they don’t get burnt.
Keep a close eye on the chicken while it’s under the broiler. If you don’t feel comfortable broiling the chicken is cooking, turn off the heat on your sauce and pay attention to your chicken.
You could also cook the Chicken Tikkas on the barbecue or in a cast iron pan. For more information on cooking the chicken tikkas in a cast iron pan, check out the Chicken Tikka recipe here.
To serve the chicken tikkas as an appetizer, baste with butter for additional smokiness and to keep meat moist.
Use 10% cream since it’s lighter and not as rich as heavy cream. This is good to thin the gravy out and to adjust its consistency gradually.
For presentation, set some of the sautéed veggies aside for decoration to be used in the final plating.
How to Prepare Chicken Tikka Masala
Prepare the chicken tikka as described in my The BEST Chicken Tikka at Home.
Heat a wok on medium-high heat and add oil, sauté peppers, onion and tomato for 3-4 minutes. The veggies should get some colour but should still remain crisp. Transfer veggies to a plate and reserve for garnish.