Chicken Tikka Masala: This Dish Impresses Johnny Depp Too
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Chicken tikka folks, now is your time to get spoiled with your hot shot item mingling in the masala to become the Chicken Tikka Masala. Not only does it strike a chord with all those looking for visually palatable delights but it offers unforgettable great taste too. A typical chicken tikka is marinated in yoghurt and spices and grilled. But the contentment of another level sets in by dipping grilled chicken tikkas in gorgeous gravy made with tomato paste, dry spices and fresh sauces. With the great taste it offers, the cooking is still fairly sorted following marinating and grilling of boneless chicken pieces in the first step and preparing saucy and spicy gravy in the second step. Now, what does a tikka mean? Well, it is a Chaghtai or extinct Turkish word, which means pieces or chunks. Talking of the origin, the present-day chicken tikka masala can be traced to the Mughal era during which boneless pieces of cooked chicken were introduced to the Indian subcontinent. Chicken tikkas are marinated with vegetables like onions and capsicum, grilled and served on a skew as a mouth-watering non-vegetarian delicacy. The preferred pieces are thigh and breast pieces so that it doesn’t get rubbery with the acidic tomato paste.

To our delight, Hollywood star Johnny Depp recently ordered an undisclosed amount of this Indian delicacy to celebrate his legal victory, again stoking the imagination of Indian food lovers worldwide. No wonder, its unusual cooking style and dynamism of being two in one, a barbecue and a curry chicken have made it extremely popular on the Indo-Western menu. Chefs around the world have experimented with various versions to make it more palatable for the Western masses who are usually too timid for our red chilli and hot spices. 

Preparation time: Half an hour

Cooking time: half an hour

Serves: 2-4 


For grilling:

1. ½kg chicken (boneless breast pieces, same size as cubed vegetables)

2. 1 red pepper

3. 1 green pepper

4. 1 tomato

5. 1 onion

For marination:

1. ¼ cup vegetable oil 

2. 1 lemon

3. 1 cup curd

4. 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

For gravy:

1. 2-3 bay leaves

2. ½ tsp cumin

3. 2-3 green cardamom

4. 1 cinnamon stick

5. 1 cup tomato paste

6. 1 tbsp cream

7. 1 and ½ tsp cashew nut paste

8. 1 cup coriander leaves

9. 1 tsp coriander powder

10. ½ tsp cumin powder

11. A pinch of turmeric powder

12. 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves

13. 1 and ½ tsp red chilli powder

14. Salt as per taste


1. Take a boneless chicken cut into small pieces and cut vegetables, onions, and bell peppers as well. For marinating, take a bowl and put turmeric, chilli and coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste, dried fenugreek leaves, curd, lime juice, salt, and oil.

2. Mix it and use half of this marinade for vegetables and a half for chicken.

3. Mix well and keep aside for 1 hr.

4. After one hour, grill chicken and vegetables on the skewer or tawa till they are half cooked. 

5. For preparing gravy, take a pan and add oil, garam masala, and cumin seeds into it.

6. When they begin to splutter, add finely chopped onion and then add salt.

7. Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chilli powder.

8. Add a little water and mix well. 

9. Add tomato paste, mix well, and cover it with a lid for 5 minutes.

10. Now, introduce the grilled chicken and vegetables into it and cook for 2 minutes and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

11. Optional: Add cream to it.

Chicken Tikka Masala is a versatile dish and has been re-invented a lot. Cook and eat your preferred way. If you want to add a smokey flavour, apply the charcoal effect. If you like your food to be very spicy on the Indian side, you can add chaat masala.