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Naga chicken tikka curry in a carbon steel Indian styled bowl from the front.
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4.88 from 16 votes

Naga chicken tikka curry

Naga chicken tikka curry is a spicy way to get your chicken tikka fix. This one is all about big, bold flavours.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken tikka curry, naga chicken tikka
Servings: 2
Calories: 682kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


Quick naga chicken tikka

  • 4 chicken thighs - boneless, skinless. Cut each thigh into 3 even pieces.
  • 2 tbsp tandoori masala - available from any Indian grocer. Look for a brand that isn't all salt.
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled between your fingers
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp naga pickle - available from most Indian grocers
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

The spice mix

  • 2 tsp Indian restaurant spice mix - recipe link below
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala - again, look for one that isn't mostly salt
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

naga chicken tikka curry

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil - any neutral oil is fine
  • 1 2 inch cassia bark
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste - recipe link below
  • 1 green chili - finger hot - jwala chili - cut in half and then into 1 inch pieces (for a total of 6-8 pieces). This is optional and for the chiliheads.
  • 1 cup Indian hotel curry gravy - recipe link below. Dilute it with 3 tbsp chicken stock (better) or water.
  • the naga chicken tikka
  • 1/2 tsp naga chili pickle - (see note). You can add more if you can take the heat. More naga pickle. More flavour.
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sugar - jaggery or brown sugar


Do your prep

  • Make your spice mix. Cut up your green chilies if using. Make your naga chicken tikka.
  • DIlute your curry gravy with 3 tablespoons of water. You need to dilute it because the chicken is going in pre-cooked.

Make your quick naga chicken tikka

  • Combine the tandoori masala, kasoor methi, salt, naga pickle and oil in a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken.
  • Add the chicken and combine with the marinade. Use tongs. This stuff will stain your fingers.
  • Marinate for about an hour. Pre-heat your oven to 400F while this is going on. Place a sturdy baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat.
  • Transfer the chicken (again, use tongs) to that pre-heated, sturdy baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for about 6 minutes. Flip all the pieces and return to the oven. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. This should take another 4-8 minutes or so. Really depends on how big your chicken thigh pieces are. Set aside.

Make the naga chicken tikka curry

  • Heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan until the oil just starts to shimmer.
  • Add the cassia bark. You should see little bubbles forming around it. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste and green chilies (optional). Cook until the garlic ginger paste stops sputtering.
  • Turn your heat down to medium low and add your spice mix. This is why you added 3 tablespoons of oil. You want to fry your spices in the oil. If you skimp on the oil you risk your spices sticking or burning. If your spices burn here you are starting over. Cook the spices for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the Indian hotel curry gravy. Stir it really well to get the oil to combine with the curry gravy. You want everything mixed together at this point. Bring to a simmer.
  • Cover loosely and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 tsp of naga chili pickle and the coconut milk and stir. Taste. Decide if you want more naga pickle flavour and heat. Creep up on it. I love the taste of naga pickle but it does get pretty spicy fast so be careful.
  • Decide at this point whether you want the sugar or not. It's optional and it depends whether you like that little hint of sweetness in the background.
  • Add the naga chicken tikka. Continue to cook for about 1 minute to warm the chicken through.
  • Serve to your chili head friends.


Naga pickle is hot stuff. If you are not a hard core chili head tread carefully. Start with 1/4 tsp. It will give you a good hint of naga. 1/2 tsp and you are getting pretty much the full naga experience but your curry will be pretty hot by most anyone's standard. Still almost in balance but on the hot end of the scale. A full teaspoon and you are in serious chili head territory. More than that and you'd best have an asbestos lining on your tongue.
If you overshoot on the naga pickle, try adding more coconut milk. It won't be the same but it will be a wonderfully creamy variation.
If you want to minimize the fire and maximize the naga flavour, leave out the green chilies. Naga is more important than the green chili flavour here. That might be the first time I've ever said leave out the green chilies. 
Make your Indian hotel curry gravy ahead of time. It takes time to make so think about doing it the day before.
I use this Indian restaurant spice mix in most of my Indian restaurant style curries.
For maximum flavour you should consider making your garlic ginger paste from scratch.
You may notice there’s no tomato paste or passata in this recipe. The tomato comes from the hotel curry gravy. It’s there already.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 682kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 1944mg | Potassium: 1000mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 6mg