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If you're a fan of Indian cuisine, you've likely experienced the tantalizing flavors of Chicken Tikka at your favorite Indian restaurant. This beloved dish has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a staple in Indian restaurants and kitchens around the globe. But what exactly is Chicken Tikka Masala, and how did it become the cultural phenomenon it is today? Join us on a journey to unravel the secrets of Chicken Tikka Masala, from its origins to its mouthwatering taste and beyond. 

What is Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala is a flavorful and aromatic curry dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It consists of marinated and grilled chicken pieces, known as "tikka," simmered in a creamy tomato-based sauce infused with a blend of traditional Indian spices. This dish is renowned for its vibrant colors, complex flavors, and irresistible aroma, making it a favorite among curry enthusiasts worldwide.

The Man Behind the Chicken Tikka Masala: Ali Ahmed Aslam

While the origins of Chicken Tikka Masala are shrouded in mystery and debate, one name often mentioned in connection with its invention is Ali Ahmed Aslam. Aslam, a Bangladeshi chef residing in Glasgow, Scotland, is credited with creating the dish in the 1970s. Legend has it that Aslam improvised the recipe by combining grilled chicken tikka with a creamy tomato-based sauce, resulting in the iconic dish we know today. His culinary innovation has since become a global sensation, earning Chicken Tikka Masala a place of honor in the annals of Indian cuisine.

Tabla Style Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe


To recreate the authentic flavors of Tabla Indian Restaurant's Chicken Tikka, gather the following ingredients: 

  • 500 grams boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1 cup plain yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, for added smokiness) 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • Fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) for garnish 
  • Lemon wedges for serving 

Marinating the Chicken: 

1. In a bowl, combine yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin, coriander, garam masala, smoked paprika (if using), and salt. Mix well to form a smooth marinade. 

2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight for best results). This allows the flavors to infuse and tenderize the chicken.

Cooking Instructions: 

1. Preheat your grill or oven to medium-high heat. 

2. Skewer the marinated chicken pieces onto skewers, leaving a small gap between each piece for even cooking. 

3. Brush the chicken skewers with vegetable oil to prevent sticking and promote a beautiful golden char. 

4. Place the skewers on the grill or in the oven and cook for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and has a slightly charred appearance. 

5. Once cooked, remove the chicken tikka skewers from the heat and let them rest for a few minutes. 

6. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

The Perfect Pairing: To elevate your Chicken Tikka experience, pair it with fluffy basmati rice, naan bread, or enjoy it as a filling in a delicious wrap. 

Butter Chicken vs. Tikka Masala - What’s the Difference?

The debate between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala has long divided curry enthusiasts, with each dish offering its own unique appeal. Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, features tender chicken cooked in a rich, buttery tomato-based sauce, while Chicken Tikka Masala offers a slightly spicier alternative with its blend of aromatic spices. Both dishes are beloved for their creamy textures and indulgent flavors, leaving diners torn between the two iconic curries.

What Are The Health Benefits of Butter Chicken Tikka Masala?

Protein-Rich Chicken: Chicken is the primary ingredient in butter chicken tikka masala, providing a significant source of high-quality protein. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, supporting overall muscle health and aiding in weight management by promoting satiety.

Spices and Herbs: The blend of spices and herbs used in the preparation of butter chicken tikka masala, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger, offer numerous health benefits. Turmeric, for example, contains curcumin, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Tomatoes: The tomato-based sauce used in butter chicken tikka masala is rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant linked to various health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Additionally, tomatoes provide essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, and folate, which support overall health and well-being.

Healthy Fats: While butter is a key ingredient in butter chicken tikka masala, it can be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Butter contains essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins that are necessary for optimal health. Additionally, substituting butter with healthier alternatives, such as ghee or coconut milk, can further enhance the dish's nutritional profile.

Final Words

With this authentic restaurant-style Chicken Tikka recipe, you can now bring the culinary magic of Tabla Indian Restaurant right into your home. The combination of aromatic spices and tender, charred chicken will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of India. Prepare to impress your family and friends with this flavorful masterpiece that captures the essence of Indian cuisine. Enjoy the experience, and savor the flavors of Tabla Indian Restaurant's signature Chicken Tikka! Alternatively, you can come to Tabla Indian Restaurant and indulge in our expertly prepared Chicken Tikka, where our skilled chefs will craft this flavorful masterpiece for you.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chicken with bones for this recipe?

While boneless chicken is typically used for Chicken Tikka, you can certainly use chicken with bones if you prefer. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.

Can I substitute Greek yogurt for plain yogurt?

Yes, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for plain yogurt in this recipe. However, keep in mind that Greek yogurt tends to be thicker, so you may need to adjust the marinade consistency by adding a little water or lemon juice if necessary.

How spicy is Chicken Tikka?

The level of spiciness in Chicken Tikka can be adjusted to your preference. In this recipe, Kashmiri red chili powder is used, which adds flavor without excessive heat. If you prefer a spicier version, you can increase the amount of red chili powder or add some finely chopped green chilies to the marinade.

What Does Chicken Tikka Masala Taste Like?

Chicken Tikka Masala boasts a harmonious blend of flavors, combining the smoky char of grilled chicken with the creamy richness of the tomato-based sauce. The sauce is mildly spicy, with hints of sweetness from the tomatoes and cream, balanced by the earthiness of the spices. Overall, Chicken Tikka Masala offers a comforting and satisfying flavor profile that is both familiar and exotic.

What to Serve with Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala pairs perfectly with a variety of accompaniments, enhancing the dining experience and satisfying the palate. Popular options include:

  • Fragrant basmati rice or fluffy naan bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.
  • Cooling cucumber raita or tangy mango chutney to balance the spices.
  • Crisp papadums or crunchy onion bhajis for added texture and crunch.
Nisha Batel
Nisha Batel

Nisha Batel, the content creator who weaves magic through her words! Working for Stealth Management Group, Nisha write creative articles and blogs on hospitality trends, food, travel, adventure, and health. With her beady eye on all the latest comings and goings in the hospitality industry, Nisha is always up-to-date with the latest trends. A self-proclaimed foodie, Nisha's love for food is unparalleled, and she is always excited to explore different cuisines, covering them in her interesting blogs.

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