Chicken Tikka Masala Presentation

Chicken Tikka Masala, with its creamy tomato-based sauce and tender pieces of marinated chicken, is a beloved dish that has found its way into the hearts and palates of people in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Surprisingly, despite its association with Indian cuisine, Chicken Tikka Masala has a fascinating origin story that might not be what you’d expect.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the popularity of Chicken Tikka Masala in the UK, explore its not-so-Indian origin, and provide you with a delicious recipe and guide to making this classic dish at home.

The Popularity of Chicken Tikka Masala in the UK

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala is undeniably one of the most popular dishes in the United Kingdom.

It has become a staple on the menus of Indian restaurants across the country, and you’ll find it offered in various forms, from mild and creamy to spicy and robust. This dish has even earned the title of the “national dish of Britain,” highlighting its widespread appeal and cultural significance.

The Origin of Chicken Tikka Masala

Despite being closely associated with Indian cuisine, the exact origin of Chicken Tikka Masala is a matter of debate. Some claim that it was invented in India, while others argue that it has roots in the UK.

The most widely accepted theory suggests that the dish was created in Glasgow, Scotland, in the 1960s by a Bangladeshi chef.

According to this story, a customer complained that his Chicken Tikka, a popular Indian dish of marinated and grilled chicken, was too dry.

In an effort to rectify this, the chef improvised by adding tomato-based gravy, yogurt, and spices to the dish, resulting in the creamy and flavorful Chicken Tikka Masala we know today. The dish quickly gained popularity and spread throughout the UK.

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Recipe and Guide for Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala


For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 1.5 lbs (about 700g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Salt to taste

For the Masala Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Marinate the Chicken:
    • In a bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and salt.
    • Add the chicken pieces and coat them thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight for best results.
  2. Grill the Chicken:
    • Preheat your grill or broiler to high heat. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto skewers.
    • Grill or broil the chicken for about 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are cooked through and have a nice char. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Masala Sauce:
    • In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes soft and translucent.
    • Stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, and chili powder. Cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Simmer the Sauce:
    • Add the tomato puree to the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the oil starts to separate from it.
    • Reduce the heat to low and pour in the heavy cream. Stir to combine.
    • Add the grilled chicken pieces to the sauce and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve and Garnish:
    • Transfer your homemade Chicken Tikka Masala to a serving dish. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
    • Serve hot with steamed rice or naan bread for a complete and satisfying meal.


Chicken Tikka Masala is a testament to the culinary fusion and evolution that can occur when different cultures come together.

While its origins may be debated, its popularity in the UK and beyond is undeniable.

By following our easy-to-follow recipe and guide, you can bring the comforting flavors of Chicken Tikka Masala to your own kitchen and enjoy a taste of this beloved British classic with an international twist.

Shelu Abapo

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