Chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka

Chicken tikka is a dish of South Asia. It is traditionally baked skewers with small pieces of chicken, usually boneless, in a clay based oven called tandoor, after marinating in spices and yogurt.

The literal meaning of tikka in Panjabi is "bits, pieces." The pieces are brushed with ghee (clarified butter) at intervals, which gives its taste, while being continuously fanned. It is typically eaten with a green coriander & tamarind chutney, served with onion rings and lemons, or used in preparing a chicken tikka masala.


Masala is a term used in South Asian cuisines to describe a mixture of spices. A masala can either be a combination of dried (and usually dry-roasted) spices, or a paste (such as vindaloo masala) made from a mixture of spices and other ingredients--often garlic, ginger and onions. It is known for its smell, and is used extensively in Indian cooking to add spice and flavor.

Chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala with naan. Image source: Wikipedia, Michael Hays, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Chicken tikka masala is a curry dish of roast chicken chunks (chicken tikka) in a red, creamy, lightly spiced, tomato-based sauce.

Chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka, chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt then baked in a tandoor oven, in a masala ("mixture of spices") sauce.

There is no standard recipe for chicken tikka masala; a survey found that of 48 different recipes the only common ingredient was chicken.

The sauce usually includes tomato and either cream or coconut cream and various spices.

The sauce or chicken pieces (or both) are often coloured orange or red with food dyes or natural colouring such as turmeric powder mixed with tomato puree.

Other tikka masala dishes replace chicken with lamb, fish or paneer.

The origins of chicken tikka masala are disputed. A widely reported explanation of the origins of the dish is that it was conceived in a Bangladeshi restaurant in London in the late 1960s, when a customer, who found the traditional chicken tikka too dry, asked for some gravy. The chef supposedly improvised a sauce from tomato soup, yogurt and spices.

Chicken tikka masala is served in restaurants around the globe. A survey in the United Kingdom claimed it is that country's most popular restaurant dish.

General Tso's chicken, another reportedly non-authentic dish seen as symbolic of a culture's cuisine.

My Experience

Recently, I had a very good pre-cooked chicken tikka masala with rice by Ventera Ranch from Costco.

I tried to "improve" the dish a little bit and decrease the salt content by:

- adding water to the masala sauce before and during heating it

- cooking onion (one bulb) in a sauce pan with a little bit of olive oil, then adding it to the rice

The sauce in the package is actually better than the rice. Next time, you may consider boiling your own rice and using only the sauce.

Chicken tikka, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Chicken tikka masala, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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