The Ultimate Makeover: Chicken tikka masala

The Ultimate Makeover: Chicken tikka masala

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(19 ratings)


Magazine subscription – 5 issues for £5

Cooking time

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 30 mins Plus at least 30 mins marinating

Skill level



Serves 4

You'll love Angela Nilsen's version of this classic Indian favourite - it tastes authentic but is far lighter and healthier

Nutrition and extra info

  • Sauce can be frozen
  • Healthy
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


For the marinade

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, halved lengthways, sliced into rough, thin wedges
  • ½ tsp each paprika, turmeric and garam masala
  • ¼ tsp hot chilli powder (leave this out if you'd prefer a milder flavour)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt

For the rice

  • 250g basmati rice
  • 200g frozen peas

To serve

  • handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • lime wedges

Compare prices

Want to see what this recipe costs at different supermarkets? Compare in one place here:


  1. For the marinade, finely grate the ginger and garlic (you should have 1 rounded tbsp of each), then mix them together. Put half of this mix into a medium bowl, then stir in the yogurt, lime juice, chopped coriander, chilli, garam masala, paprika and turmeric. Heat a small heavy-based dry pan, tip in the cumin, coriander and fenugreek seeds, then heat briefly until toasted and smelling fragrant (they will start to jump in the pan). Remove and grind to a powder using a pestle and mortar. Stir half into the yogurt mix (save the rest for the sauce). Stir the chicken chunks into the spiced yogurt until well coated. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 30 mins, or overnight if you like.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions, then fry over a medium heat for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened and turning brown. Stir in the remaining ginger and garlic, and stir-fry for 2 mins. Mix in the paprika, turmeric, garam masala, chilli and the rest of the toasted cumin, coriander and fenugreek. Cook for 1 min, stirring to scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato purée, then 150ml water. Cook for 1 min. Carefully transfer to a food processor or blender. Process to a thick, fairly smooth sauce. Return to the pan, pour in another 150ml water, then set aside. Can be made a day ahead. Soak the rice in cold water for up to 30 mins.
  3. Heat the grill to high. Thread the chicken onto 8 wooden skewers (soaked first), then balance them across a baking tray lined with foil, so they are slightly raised over it. Grill for 12-15 mins until cooked and slightly charred around the edges. Meanwhile, drain the rice, then tip into a pan with 375ml water. Bring to a boil, then cook over a low heat, covered, for 8 mins. Remove from the heat but leave covered for 5 mins. Cook the peas in boiling water for 3 mins, drain. Fluff up the rice with a fork, then toss in the peas.
  4. When ready to serve, reheat the sauce, stirring in any juices from the chicken and a drop more water to thin if necessary (it should be quite thick). Remove from the heat, stir in the yogurt, then season with a pinch of salt. Serve the chicken skewers with the rice, a scattering of coriander and lime wedges.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2010

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.


Show comments
grimer's picture

I have to disagree with the cooking method - add the tumeric *after* you have used the food processor, otherwise it will stain the plastic yellow.

Other than that, not a bad recipe - although it is very similar to 'The curry secret'.

nixie1's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

this was beautiful :)
even nicer than the takeaway and worth the faff

louvan's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

We weren't very keen on this; would rather have the full fat version less often.

annmucc's picture

I was first introduced to Chicken Tikka Masala via the premade sauces you find in supermarkets. I agree, not the most auspicious introduction, but I liked it. However, those sauces are totally unhealthy so we have looked at maybe making it ourselves at home. So far most of our efforts have been disappointing at best, particularly on flavour. This recipe was the first time a homemade tikka masala recipe satisfied me on all counts. It was also not as greasy as the bought sauces, which is great. The only negative would be that it is not as quick and easy as most of the other recipes I have followed on here. A definite keeper though!

sallsgaskell's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

This is one of the best lighter versions of this recipe I have tried, it was delicious. The kids tasted it too and it is now on the menu for Saturday nights as they loved it too!

michelle-macdougall's picture

I made this on Saturday, and was very impressed it was gorgeous, I've made a few different recipes of chicken tikka masala but I'd have to say this was the best one I've tried and the rice went perfectly.

kingussie's picture

Made this tonight. Flavours were really lovely and much healthier than takeaway. Def make this again and again.

shirls1's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made this last night for the whole family and they loved it. You would never guess that it is superhealthy. The flavours were amazing and well worth the effort of preparing all the ingredients. A lot of it could be done in advance (even the day before) so it would be ideal for entertaining.

rosie72's picture

If you've got a bit of time on your hands and want something that is seriously good to make it worth your while, then this is it! Delicious and well worth making your own marinade, you really can taste the difference.
Am going to attempt a veggie option for a new housemate using sweet potato, squash and anything else anyone can volunteer!

starkusr's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

very involved but absolutely delicious! full of flavour, really enjoyed it as did the rest of the family! good chance to brush up on skills too as i have never make my own spice mix from seeds before...