CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA (Indian Butter Chicken)


pic 1 IndianServes 4

My wife is from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia Canada. We go there at least twice a year to visit her family. There is a large East Indian population throughout the area and Indian food is very popular. One of our first stops every trip is a place simply named, Best of India. For many years the owner,  Jaswinder “Jas” Sidhu and his wife, Mandeep have run this small restaurant. They are wonderful people from the Indian province of Punjab and they make the best Tikka Masala (Butter Chicken) we have had anywhere. We have been stopping by for lunch year after year and year after year I have asked Jas to teach me how to make this dish. Time and time again he has just smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said “It’s a secret recipe”… I would go home and try to make it by guessing with no success. However, this year, he actually finally said, “ok Ken… you come tomorrow and I will teach you”. My wife, Andi and I went the next day and spent the afternoon in his kitchen at the restaurant cooking and learning. He did not just hand me the recipe but I took notes the best I could and this is the result. He shared with us the purpose of each ingredient as he sees them as “medicine for the body”. Some of the spices, he believes, offer great health benefits from boosting the immune system to anti inflammatory to blood flow. Some of the ingredients were foreign to me but I found them easy to get online and worth discovering. I hope you will enjoy this cooking process and this delicious recipe! Pairs very well with a fruit forward white wine with a dry finish.

pic 2 indian


Cooking oil (canola, corn or vegetable)

Chopped Garlic (2 tablespoons)

Chopped Ginger – no need to peel (2 Tablespoons very finely chopped)

1 medium chopped Onion

1 Green Chili pepper seeded and chopped… (leave seeds in for spicier dish)

1 tablepoon ground tumeric

1/2 teaspoon Whole Coriander (crushed to open up flavor)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon black mustard seed

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 lb of cubed chicken breast (cut into 2×2 inch cubes)

14 oz tomato sauce

1 cup whole buttermilk

2 pinch of dried methi fenugreek leaves

1 teaspoon ground malathi powder

i teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon ground red chili paste

1/2 cup ground cashew (crushed in ziplock bag with mallet works well)

1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice cooked according to directions. (Stir in 1 tbsp butter, 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp salt before cooking… set aside and keep warm)

Naan Bread (Just before serving dinner toast in oven directly on rack 6 minutes on 400)

Have all ingredients pre chopped / measured etc and right in front of you so that you have them ready quickly when you need them.

pic 4 indian


Boil chicken cubes in 3 quarts of salted water for 8 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Set aside.


In a small sauce pot heat 1 tbsp of oil and add tomato sauce… Stir and keep on low heat until needed…


Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium high heat in skillet

Saute chopped onion for 3 minutes then add half of your garlic, ginger and green chili (set aside other half of each for later in process)

Stir then add:

1 tbsp tumeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black mustard seed

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 bay leaf

Stir to blend ingredients in skillet…


crush 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander between hands in a circular motion and add to pot…

Stir then add:

Cooked chicken

1/3 of the warm tomato sauce

1/2 of the whole buttermilk

Reduce heat to medium…

Stir then add:

dried fenugreek leaves

1/2 tsp malathi powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp Salt

Stir then add:

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

half of chopped baby spinach

Stir then add:

(equal amounts as before of)




Tomato Sauce

Stir then add:

ground red chili paste

1/2 cup finely ground cashews

1/4 cup more of water

rest of tomato sauce

pic 3 indian


Taste to see if you need more flavor… add salt pepper turmeric and ground coriander to adjust…

If you like spicy food you may want to add more heat (red chili paste).

Stir together well and simmer on low heat…

Serve over basmati rice seasoned w salt, turmeric and butter…

Top with fresh chopped cilantro and baby spinach.



pic 6 indian
Best of India’s Tikka Masala Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread
Best Of India in OLIVER, B.C. CANADA

© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2017

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s