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Chicken Tikka Masala For Your Soul

Chicken Tikka Masala

Juicy, succulent cubes… a little charred and overdone. Flavorful and spicy, the ubiquitous Chicken Tikka Masala goes back a long way. Debating on its origins is like uncorking a regional debate. Tagged under North Indian cuisine, chicken tikka, as we know it now, evolved in India after desi spices gave a whole new lease of life to the bland meat skewers brought in by the Central Asian invaders.

Over the course of time and preferences, somewhere, the dish underwent customizations and herein sprung up the “chicken tikka masala,” the same marinated chunks tossed in a tangy tomato sauce. Throw in a handful of kasuri methi and whirl in a dollop of cream, and the dish turns divine.

Johnny Depp At Varanasi restaurant in Birmingham

The preparation has been in recent news because of actor Johnny Depp. After coming out clean from the month-long divorce settlement with Amber Heard, Depp, reportedly partied with his friends and legal team at Indian restaurant “Varanasi.” This is Birmingham’s largest Indian eatery and Depp reportedly spent a whopping Rs 45 lakh on the meal. The chef was ordered to prepare sheekh kebabs, chicken tikka, paneer tikka masala, lamb karahi and Tandoori king prawns

Johnny Depp with restaurant staff

The dish is immensely popular in the British Isles and some claims that the genesis owes to a Bangladeshi chef, who in 1970, added cream to chicken tikka and invented “chicken tikka masala.” Whatever be the case, the one clear answer remains that chicken tikka masala is a universal favourite.

Vibes of India gets you a tried-and-tested recipe of this dish:

Chef Ammar Ansari

Chef Ammar Ansari, Urban Banjara (Godhavi) suggests that marination is the key. The meat must be marinated enough for the spices to seep in. He recommends making juliennes or pieces with thigh pieces as these are softer than the boneless cubes from the breast.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Cook Time: 30 mins

Prep Time: Overnight marination preferred

Serves: 5 adults


One kg chicken pieces, washed and patted dry

1/4 tsp ginger, ½ tsp garlic paste

250 gms hung curd

One Tbsp lemon juice

To taste: red chilli powder, salt, black pepper, cumin powder

Method: Mix all ingredients into curd. Stir well so that all lumps dissolve. Now add in the chicken pieces. A minimum of two hours is required for the marinade to seep in. Best if left overnight in the fridge.

For cooking: Thread the pieces onto a skewer and cook on top of a tandoor. Baste with ghee. Or if cooking in a pan, add the chicken, cover and let it simmer on low heat for 10 mins. Keep checking. When done, add ghee and fry well.

Chicken Tikka

For tikka masala gravy: Add ghee in a pan. Sauté fine-chopped onions, ginger-garlic paste and once well done, add tomato puree.

Add a handful pre-roasted kasuri methi, a pinch of garam masala powder and mix well. When the ghee surfaces on top, the masala is done and ready to take in the cooked meat pieces.

Let the gravy and meat come to a boil together. Switch off and add a cup of light cream.

Chicken Tikka Masala By Chef Ammar

Also Read: Chicken Sandwich: Less Price, More Taste