Go Back
+ servings
Chicken tikka masala in a kauai with cream drizzle from above.
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

chicken tikka masala - Indian hotel style

Tender tikka morsels, hotel gravy, makhani gravy, spice and coconut milk come together to make this one serious chicken tikka masala.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken tikka masala, Indian hotel style
Servings: 4 people
Author: romain | glebekitchen


Quick chicken tikka

  • 1 lb chicken thighs boneless, skinless. Each thigh cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 3 tbsp tandoori masala - you want a brand that isn't super heavy on the salt. Or you can make your own. See the link in the notes.
  • 2 tsp kasoor methi
  • 1/4 tsp naga pickle - optional but so tasty if you can stand the heat
  • 1 tsp kosher salt - an extra tsp of kosher salt if you are using the glebekitchen tandoori masala.
  • 3 tbsp neutral oil

The spice mix

  • 2 tsp tandoori masala - same story as above.
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4-2 tsp kashmiri chili powder 1/4 tsp is pretty mild. 2 tsp has a bit of kick. You decide.
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor powder - dried mango powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt - if you use the tandoori masala recipe below (no salt). If you are using a commercial tandoori masala I'd think about cutting it back to 1/2 tsp max and seasoning to taste at the end.

chicken tikka masala

  • 1 cup Indian hotel gravy - link below
  • 1/2 cup makhani gravy - without the added butter and cream (link below)
  • 5 tbsp neutral oil - canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • the spice mix from above
  • 2 tsp brown sugar - I'm not crazy about sweet curries so if you like it sweet you can probably add a bit more.
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream - optional. The cream adds richness but also blunts the flavour. Go with what you prefer. I usually leave it out.
  • enough chicken stock to get you to the consistency you want chicken stock is not cubes.


Make your simple chicken tikka

  • Combine the tandoori masala, kasoori methi, salt and oil. Stir to combine. If you like a bit of spice a little naga pickle goes nicely in this mix.
  • Add the chicken thighs. Mix. Use tongs for this. This stuff stains. Badly.
  • Marinate anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.
  • While the chicken marinates, preheat your oven to 400F. Pre-heat a baking pan.
  • Use your tongs to place the chicken onto the pre-heated baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven. Cook for around 6 minutes. Flip each piece and return the baking sheet to the oven. Continue to cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160-165F. This should take another 4-8 minutes or so. Really depends on how big your chicken thigh pieces are. When you've hit your target internal temp set the chicken aside.
  • If you can I do recommend using a BBQ. Asian groceries and restaurant supply stores sell these little wire mesh grates. They are awesome for grilling little pieces like tikka. No skewering required.
  • I strongly prefer charcoal over gas. Set yourself up for a direct zone and an indirect zone. Cook the chicken over the indirect zone until you get to an internal temp of about 150F then char the chicken up a bit over the direct zone. Those little Asian grill grates are really nice for this. You can just slide the grate, chicken and all from the indirect zone to the direct zone and back. Super handy. Remove the chicken when you get to 160-165F and set aside.

Make the hotel style chicken tikka masala

  • Make your spice mix. Measure out all the spices, kasoor methi and salt and toss them into a little bowl. It's all going in at once.
  • Pre-heat a skillet large enough to hold all the ingredients over medium-low heat. Pick a skillet that has a lid. Add the oil.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the garlic ginger paste. Cook, stirring continuously, until it stops sputtering. This part can get a bit messy. Stand back. You want to drive the water out and cook the paste a bit. You don't want it to colour up.
  • Add the spice mix. All of it. Stir to combine and fry for about 30-45 seconds. You want the spices to fry in the oil If it looks dry or it's starting to stick reduce the heat and add more oil. You are blooming spices. This is where the magic happens. If you don't have a really good hood fan your house should smell like an Indian restaurant at this point.
  • Add the hotel gravy and the makhani gravy. Stir to combine. Get the oil worked into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and brown sugar and then add the chicken tikka. Cover and simmer until the chicken tikka is warmed through.
  • Add the heavy cream if using.
  • Look at the consistency of the sauce. If you would like it a bit thinner add a bit of chicken stock and stir. You probably won't need any if you are using the heavy cream. Simmer for about a minute.
  • Serve with rice and naan or chapatis. A nice chana masala or tarka dal is always good too.


Do you prep. Make your hotel gravy. Make your makhani gravy. And think about making your own tandoori masala.