BBQ Chicken Tikka Masala

Give your Chicken Tikka Masala a real edge by lighting up the BBQ.  The rich, red, creamy texture of the sauce perfectly compliments chunky, chargrilled chicken breasts.  Chicken Tikka is traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven, at very high temperatures – BBQ offers a great alternative.
Recently declared as the new ‘national dish of Great Britain’, nearly 15% of all curries sold in Britain are Chicken Tikka Masalas.  Several chefs and restaurants lay claim to the creation of the dish, but it is commonly believed that British ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’ originated in Indian restaurants run by Bangladeshi chefs, probably in the 1960’s or 1970’s.
There is no standard recipe for the masala sauce.  What we believe really makes a great sauce, is creating a real depth and richness using a variety of ingredients.  A base of onions, chillies, garlic and ginger will give the dish a good foundation.  Creamed coconut and double cream will add texture and the right consistency.  Fresh, good quality tomatoes are essential to balance the flavours.  Mint sauce is an unusual addition, a personal preference, but is regularly found in marinades and dips within Indian cuisine.

Indian flavours can be so complex, to learn how to work with spices can take years and years of practice.  Measuring quantities and spice combinations can be crucial.  We often find ourselves referring to a cookbook by a British chef named Pat Chapman, which offer a wide range of inspiring, delicious curry recipes.  The spice blends for the curry masala and tandoori paste take influence from Pat’s own version of Chicken Tikka Masala.

Substitute lamb for chicken if you wish.

Serves 4


  • 4 free range chicken breasts


  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 red chillies chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ mint sauce
  • 4 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Tandoori Paste

  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder

Curry Masala

  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon gram flour
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida


  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger chopped
  • 2 fresh chillies chopped
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 8 fresh vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon mint sauce
  • 200g creamed coconut
  • 150ml double cream
  • salt to taste


Mix together the ingredients of the marinade and half the tandoori paste, massage into the chicken breasts and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, for at least 8 hours.

Heat the ghee in a large, non stock saucepan. Then add the onions and fry gently for five minutes.  Add the ginger, chilli and garlic and fry for a further five minutes.  You want the onions to be golden brown.

Next combine five tablespoons of water with the curry masala and the remaining ingredients of the tandoori paste.  Add to the pan, stir frying for two minutes.

Then add the tomatoes to the pan and let them simmer gently for five minutes.  Add the remainder of the ingredients of the sauce (except the salt) and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor.  Season with salt.  The sauce is now ready.

Now heat some coals for the BBQ, a whole chimney starter full of charcoal will be plenty.  You want the coals red hot.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, removing as much of the marinade as you can, rinse under cold water if it makes it easier.  Grill the chicken breasts until they hit an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.  Try not to cook it any further than 165°F/74°C, this will give you a succulent texture.  You’ll notice in the photograph that we’ve used a rotisserie to cook the chicken.  This isn’t essential and will taste just as great if its charred on a hot grill.

Once cooked, add the chicken to the sauce and heat through.

Serve with pilau rice, and get stuck in.




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