A super quick and simple version of the curry house favourite, my Easy Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala is perfect for busy weeknights when you really want a curry but without the expense of a takeaway (and it’s healthier too!)
What is your favourite curry? I have loads…asking me to choose would be like asking me to choose my favourite child! Though if you insisted, I’d probably get it narrowed down to either Chicken Jalfrezi, Lamb Rogan Josh, my Easy Vegetable Korma….and of course (along with most of the rest of the UK) Chicken Tikka Masala!
Chicken Tikka Masala is such an Indian restaurant classic! But did you know it was actually first created in 1971 in Glasgow? Well at least so the story goes…. a customer in an Indian Restaurant in Glasgow complains his curry is too dry and sends it back, so the chef creates a quick sauce out of cream, spices and tomato soup and sends it back out. The customer loves it and raves about to all his mates, so the restaurant puts it on the menu and Chicken Tikka Masala becomes a rip-roaring success.
I should point out this story is disputed, with some claiming its origins are actually in the Punjab region in India. Which may well be true, but I like the Glasgow story better – and you can really imagine something like that happening can’t you?
Now, I am not claiming my version of Chicken Tikka Masala is especially authentic (if indeed anyone can claim that about Chicken Tikka Masala – see the composition section on Wikipedia), but it is quick AND easy AND delicious. I’ve also tried to make it a little healthier than your typical Indian Restaurant Chicken Tikka Masala.
Typically, Chicken Tikka Masala in curry restaurants features lots of yogurt, cream, coconut cream and butter (or more likely ghee). My version features none of these. Instead I have chosen to use coconut milk for the creaminess – which also has the added benefit of this Chicken Tikka Masala being dairy free (it’s naturally gluten free too). It also makes this chicken curry super quick and easy to throw together from mostly store cupboard ingredients. But you can swap the coconut milk for yogurt if you prefer (and even add a dash of cream in at the end if you are feeling really decadent!!).
I have also dispensed with the whole business of making the chicken and sauce separately. Whilst undoubtably it would taste more authentic this way, I simply don’t have the time or energy on a busy weeknight to start threading chicken onto skewers and grilling it while making a separate sauce and then putting the two together. My midweek evenings need quick and easy one pot recipes, not a whole load of mess and faff!
So, I simply marinate diced chicken in a mix of spices and coconut milk (you can do this for as long or as short as you have time for), then fry the chicken in the pan for a couple of minute before adding passata and more coconut milk. I finish the curry with an extra teaspoon of garam masala, a handful of almonds (optional), and some fresh coriander. Simples! And the whole thing can be on the table in well under 30 minutes. Quicker than ordering a takeaway where I live!!
This Easy Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala would go perfectly with either plain basmati rice, my Easy Peasy Pilau Rice and/or naan breads. (Tune in next week when I’ll be sharing my recipe for Easy Homemade Naan Bread!!!) And if you are trying to keep the carbs and calories down, why not try my Pilau Cauliflower Rice instead? Low on carbs AND an extra portion of veggies!!
My hubby always maintains that curry goes best with beer and if you agree with him then go for a refreshing Indian beer like Kingfisher, which pairs well with milder curries. Or for a British beer option he recommends Chapeldown Curious Brew. I, on the other hand, much prefer wine and would generally choose an aromatic white wine to go with Chicken Tikka Masala, something like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris or Viognier should work well. If you are a diehard red wine drinker, then go for a soft and fruity Grenache/Garnacha. Rosé wine often works very well with curry too.
Easy Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala
- 3 cloves garlic crushed or grated
- 3 cm ginger grated
- 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- Juice of half a lemon
- 100 ml coconut milk
Chicken Tikka Masala
- 600 g chicken breast diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 red (bell) pepper chopped into bitesize pieces
- 300 ml passata (or whizz a tin of tomatoes in your blender)
- 300 ml coconut milk (you may not need all of this)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds (optional – it helps to thicken, leave out if you prefer a saucier curry)
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped – plus extra for garnish
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, add the diced chicken and stir to coat thoroughly. Marinate for 10 minutes if that’s all you’ve got or up to 24 hours if you have the time. (If marinating for more than 10 minutes cover and return to the fridge)
Place the oil, onions and red pepper in a large, wide saucepan or large frying pan and cook gently with the lid on for 5 minutes or until softened. Turn the heat up and add the chicken. Fry for 3-5 minutes until brown. Add the passata and half the remaining coconut milk and bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining garam masala, ground almonds (optional) and fresh coriander (cilantro) and stir to combine. Add the remaining coconut milk if you feel the curry is too thick.
Serve with rice and/or naan bread.
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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