Easy Tikka Masala

Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala is very tasty. Here is the original recipe. I have tried many different variations and I love this one the best. Mine is a healthier, vegetarian version of the original recipe, knocking out the butter, cream and chicken. I don’t taste a huge flavor difference in the healthier version. The spices are really a good combination and compensate for the fat I have taken out. I usually double the recipe so I can share it with my children and give them some. I like to serve it over brown rice.

Prep:15 minsCook:1 hr 5 minsTotal:1 hr 20 minsServings:6Yield:6 servings

Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala Sauce


You can use a large frying pan, but I now dump into my instant pot, sautéing these ingredients first:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)  Susan note: I use a 2 tsp of miso instead with two cups of water.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced Susan note: I use the pre-minced garlic in a jar from Costco.

I saute the above ingredients in the Instant Pot. Once a month I combine all of the spices below and put them in a baggie and this is a big time saver. I make 4 of these bags of spices at the same time.

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon salt (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger  Susan note: I use fresh ginger sometimes.
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper Susan note: I don’t like spicy heat so I don’t put this in.
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric 
  • 2 teaspoons paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar (Optional)
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder Susan note: This should go on the chicken below but I put it in the spice bag.

After adding the bag of spices, I add the following:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream Susan note: I switch this out with cashew cream or coconut milk

I make mine a vegetable tikka masala. I add 2 cups of cut up raw potatoes and carrots usually instead of the chicken. Add those to the instant pot as well. Cook on pressure cook/ manual for 8 minutes.

If you want to add chicken you can cook it separately like the recipe suggests, or add cooked chicken to the sauce in the instant pot after it has cooked.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces 
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder 
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste (Optional)
Directions for the traditional recipe without any changes, so not cooking it in an instant pot.
  • Step 1Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat and cook and stir onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric into the onion mixture; fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Step 2Stir tomato sauce into the onion and spice mixture, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes, then mix in cream, paprika, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bring sauce back to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until sauce is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 3Heat vegetable oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Stir chicken into the hot oil, sprinkle with curry powder, and sear chicken until lightly browned but still pink inside, about 3 minutes; stir often. Transfer chicken and any pan juices into the sauce. Simmer chicken in sauce until no longer pink, about 30 minutes; adjust salt and sugar to taste.
Per Serving: 328 calories; protein 17.9g; carbohydrates 13.2g; fat 23.4g; cholesterol 105.8mg; sodium 980.5mg.

I love vegetable tikka masala so much from our favorite Indian restaurant, Bombay House, that, encouraged by Michael Pollan, I wanted to be able to make it at home. I love simplifying recipes so it becomes easier. The first time I made this it was a 45 minute ordeal, measuring out all the spices mostly. Now it’s a quick saute, and then adding 5 more ingredients after, the bag of spices being one of the add-ins. It is now about 10 minutes prep time, which makes it very easy. Good luck and I would love to hear how it turns out for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s