Cooking with Mom: Chicken Tikka Masala

I love it when you can make takeout at home easily.  It allows you to control the quality of the ingredients and also the amount of added fat (which Indian restaurants are notorious for adding too much of).  I had no idea this was such an easy dish to make at home.  Make an extra batch of the fake-bake tandoori chicken and transform it into this Indian classic.   Ria loved it and wanted some right after it was ready (4 pm dinner?).  Thanks Mom for demystifying this classic dish and making it so accessible.

Chicken Tikka Masala

An Indian staple made kid-friendly and easy.  Use paneer (Indian cheese available at Indian specialty grocery stores) or tofu for vegetarian version.  Sometimes, I add peas to the tofu or paneer to make it a one-pot meal.


Serves 2 adults and 2 kids




1 recipe fake-bake tandoori chicken

2 tbsp butter & 1 tbsp vegetable oil

14 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, pureed in blender or small food processor

½ tbsp cumin

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp chilli powder (optional or use less)

½ tsp sugar (to counter tartness of tomatoes)

2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

salt to taste



  1. Heat oil & butter and add pureed tomatoes.  Stir for a minute or so.
  2. Add spices & sugar and after a couple of minutes add the cooked fake-bake tandoori chicken
  3. Simmer for 10-12 minutes and finish with cream, if using
  4. Serve with rice and/or store-bought naan

31 thoughts on “Cooking with Mom: Chicken Tikka Masala

  1. That is simply awesome Simran. I am such a Indian food lover. Eventually figured out some of the dishes, but still long way to go. But similarity with Nepalese cooking does come handy. Your chicken tikka looks so yummy. I am making some extra batch so that I won’t have to take frozen lunch to work.

  2. Hi Simran,

    I was told by my Indian friends the indian dishes you get in the restaurants are not a true reflection of Indian home food. I mean look at the amount of oil floating on the curry, right?
    That said, it doesn’t deter me from my love for indian cuisines! 😛

    I’m looking forward to try this recipe. It looks no different than the ones you get in the restaurant but healthier. 🙂

    Also, I’ve just made a batch of chicken briyani using your recipe and guess what, I’m loving it and very proud of myself right now, haha. The minor tweak that I’ve made is to add the some mint leaves in addition of coriander for garnish and sprinkle with some fried shallots. It was a fantastic meal.

    • Home-cooking I feel is usually better esp. in the case of Indian food. The tandoor oven which restaurants have gives them an edge for “grilled” meats but otherwise home-cooked Indian is generally better.
      I am so glad you tried to make the biryani. I love the addition of mint and fried shallots. Nice touch! Thanks for your comment Emily!

  3. This looks like a fantastic recipe! Also glad you included veggie alternatives as I never cook meat right.

    I was just wondering, if I use paneer (let’s hope I can find some!) or tofu – should I ‘fake-bake’ it at all? Or is it okay to bung the cheese/tofu straight in?

    Thanks for the help. Can’t wait to try this!

  4. Oh, I was also wondering if you know how to get those lovely soft potatoes in curry? Is it best to boil them first or is it a type of potato? I’m always jealous I can never get mine to be as melt-in-your-mouth as those at our local curry house. Mhmm, just thinking about it gets my mouth watering…

  5. I was thinking of making paneer tikka masala this weekend as a trial for the big finale on Yaseen birthday next month. Your chicken tikka masala looks so fantastic. I will definitely try this 🙂

  6. That looks delicious and so simple. For some reason I’ve got it stuck in my head that curries take dozens of spices or a mix (other than the garam masala, anyway). This might just change my thinking.

    • We are trying to make simple curries that are family friendly – you can make more complicated curries but we like to keep it easy without sacrificing to much taste. Do try this one!

  7. This was one of those dishes I always thought are super complicated and, like other times, you make appear easy to make. Now I know what’s for dinner tonight! And thank you all the commenters for the questions cause their answers gave me so many additional tips (I never get very soft potatoes either!) Can I borrow your mom?

  8. Simran, thank you SO much for posting this recipe! I will be making it this week. The last time I got Chicken Tikka Masala for take out, my kids ate my entire order up, and I’ve been looking for a simple version to try at home!

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