Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala Sauce


A tikka masala sauce from a classic curry-stand recipe. This is not haute cuisine; it's the kind of nuclear-orange tikka masala you crave when you stumble out of a pub at 2 a.m. I make vast quantities of this sauce at one time as it freezes well. I also use more cayenne pepper than 1 teaspoon, but I give out the recipe like this for people who don't like heat.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins


  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar, or more to taste (Optional)

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces

  • ½ teaspoon curry powder


  1. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 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 onion mixture; fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  2. Stir tomato sauce into onion and spice mixture; bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes, then mix in cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, and paprika. Bring sauce back to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until sauce is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Heat vegetable oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Stir chicken into hot oil; add curry powder. Sear chicken until lightly browned but still pink inside, about 3 minutes; stir often.

  4. Transfer chicken and any pan juices into sauce. Simmer chicken in sauce until no longer pink, about 30 minutes; adjust sugar and salt to taste.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

328 Calories
23g Fat
13g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 328
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 106mg 35%
Sodium 981mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 9mg 46%
Calcium 68mg 5%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 462mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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