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Tandoori Chicken Masala

We would like to present you with the recipe for our favourite curry on Mongolian Kitchen. The tandoori chicken Massala, also very similar to our vegetable tikka masala recipe. You may be wondering why this is our favourite curry. The answer lies in cooking the chicken pieces separate from the curry gravy. The chicken is marinated in tandoori spices and yoghurt and then grilled (even better if you have a tandoor oven or BBQ!). You then prepare the curry sauce and combine the chicken at the last minute.

Of course marinating and grilling the chicken separately is not the only thing that makes this curry (but the slightly charred pieces of chicken will have a great texture). The curry gravy is an intense sauce with plenty of flavour but is mild on heat. We prefer not to use too much chilli so that you can taste the flavours in the curry. This sauce has a hint of sweetness which comes from using mango chutney and brown sugar in the sauce.

Tamarind paste, amongst other spices add a contrasting sour flavour and the red colouring within the tandoori spice mix gives a vibrant red colour. Finish this with fresh coriander and fresh naan bread and you have the perfect curry (in our opinion). This curry is also very similar to our Pathia Curry Recipe.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Tandoori Chicken Masala
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Bright, fragrant, sweet & spicy curry that will beat most restaurant currys
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2-4
For the Chicken Marinade
  • Chicken Breasts (or thighs)
  • 3-4 tbsp Greek style yoghurt
  • 1.5 tbsp Rajah Tandoori spice mix
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Puree
For the Gravy
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • ½ Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • Fresh Curry leafs (5+ depending on your taste)
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger puree
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 150g Creamed tomatoes (or tinned tomatoes)
  • 100ml chicken stock (or water)
  • Fresh Coriander
  • 1 tsp mango chutney
  • ½ tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
Spice Mix
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder (more if you like it hotter)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp tandoori spice mix
Marinade & cook the chicken.
  1. Cut your chicken breasts into equal pieces
  2. Place the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Place the chicken in the marinade, cover with cling film and refridgerate for 3 hours (or overnight)
  4. When ready to cook skewer the chicken and grill on a high heat until cooked and golden
For the Gravy:
  1. Place the oil or ghee in your pan (or wok as we’ve used) and gently heat on a low heat with the cinnamon, cardamon pods and cloves to gently infuse and flavour the oil.
  2. After 2 minutes remove the cloves, turn up the heat to high and throw in the fresh curry leaves, fry for 20 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onions and fry on a medium heat for 10-20 minutes until golden (add a ½ tsp of the brown sugar with the onions to help caramelise them). chicken tandoori masala recipe
  4. Add the ginger and garlic puree and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat to the lowest, create a well in the onions and add the dry spices and tomato puree.
  6. Slowly increase the heat to medium and fry for around 2 minutes (if its looking dry..add a touch of oil).
  7. Add the tomatoe puree along with the mango chutney, tamarind paste and brown sugar
  8. Fry for around 2 minutes to release the flavours and aromatic oils from the spices (you will see the oils released through the sauce).
  9. Add a little chicken stock to add some liquid into the gravy and turn the heat to a medium low to simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
  10. If the sauce runs dry add extra stock or water, making sure not to make the sauce too runny.
  11. Check the seasoning and if the consistency of the sauce is right, add the chicken pieces, stir in and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  12. Season with fresh coriander, stir and serve.


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  1. wow this seems like a great recipe, I’ll be trying this sometime for sure!

  2. nora

    hi, love yr recipes! may i ask hw much chicken was used in the recipe? i dont think the quantity was stated. would love to try this recipe next weekend. Thanks!!

    • Mongolian Chef

      Hi Nora, about three chicken breasts or four if they are small. It’s better to have more sauce than chicken than the other way round. Good luck.

  3. emma

    hey i’m thinking of cooking thisfor n assessmn. just wondering how long it takes to do after the chcken been marinated

    • Mongolian Chef

      An hour or ideally overnight.

  4. Debra

    I’ve made this three times now & it’s amazing curry. My kids favorite Indian dish. It does curdle when I add the chicken though – how can I avoid that? Thanks. P.s. Definitely marinate the chicken overnight.

    • Mongolian Chef

      You need to try and scrape the yogurt off the chicken before grilling it and also again before adding it to the sauce. Hope that helps, enjoy.

  5. Ricki Lane

    definitely gonna try this recipe , but how many people does this serve for with the 3-4 chicken breasts/thighs ?

    • The Mongolian Chef

      I would say at least four people

  6. erica bag

    i would love to try this. is there a printable version of this recipe. it would make it much easier

  7. B-MAC


    • The Mongolian Chef

      Recipe updated

  8. Ricki Lane

    For the Tandoori chicken masala, how much Tandoori spice mix do you add to the marinade as the quantity isn’t shown !

    • The Mongolian Chef

      About 1.5 tbsp (have updated recipe) :)

  9. B-MAC

    Can lamb be used, and if so do you marinade it the same way as the chicken?

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Yes you can definitely use lamb and keep everything else the same

  10. Ronelle

    No salt?

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Hi Ronelle, we recommend checking the seasons towards of the end of the cooking time and adjusting the salt if needed. You might find you don’t need salt depending on your stock. We don’t add salt to the marinade so as not to dry out the chicken.

  11. Hiii! This looks amazing. Wanted to ask if there is any substitute for mango chutney. Coz i dont have it. Or is ther any way i can make it? I have raw mangoes with me.

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Hi Sadia, you can just let it of the recipe, it will still be delicious.

  12. ole

    where is the spice mix supposed to go? in the gravy? or in the marinade?

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Hi Ole, apologies for the slow reply. The spice mix is for the gravey. If you can’t find the tandoori spice mix for the marinade you can also use it for the marinade. Please enjoy and let us know how you get on.

  13. Ian Vardy

    Hi, What are creamed tomatos, and where do you add them as i dont see any mention of adding them in the gravy. Thanks

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Creamed tomatoes are basically pureed and sieved chopped tomatoes. If you cant find them, just puree a tin of tomatoes. Add them at stage 7 with chutney, tamarind and brown sugar

  14. Lubna

    Hi. great recipe . what about salt . salt goes in too right? or is it already there in tandoory spice mix !

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Hi Lubna, yes there is salt in the recipe sorry about that. We don’t add salt to the chicken marinade so as not to dry out the chicken. We add the salt to the gravy sauce and you can adjust it to your taste. Enjoy and let us know how you get on.

  15. karl

    Hello, I have tried a few Tandoori recipes before and I am going to try this because it looks delicious. I was wondering if you add lemon juice to the marinade for the chicken?

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Hi Karl, it’s optional but we do sometimes use lemon in our marinade. Try the recipe and let us know how you find.

  16. Gavin

    I followed this recipe and its methods, which produced the best curry I’ve ever tried. I couldn’t find tamarind anywhere so just added more chutney, it was delicious and I’ve already cooked it twice this week for my addicted family. It’s a very fruity and flavourful dish, which is now a firm family favorite. Thanks to the OP for sharing.

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Hi Gavin,
      We’re really glad you enjoyed our recipe this is our family favorite too. Hope you enjoy trying more of our recipes.

  17. Avani

    Is the chicken boneless or with bone?

    • The Mongolian Chef

      We use chicken breast fillets

  18. Brenda

    I have travelled and cooked extensively. The best chicken tikka masala I have ever tasted was in “Last Train to Bombay, ” Sydney Australia. For years, it has been my first port of call when visiting Sydney, but this betters that.
    For my taste, I increased the spices a bit, but kept the proportions the same
    Thank you.

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Thank you Brenda for your lovely feedback, really glad you enjoyed our recipe and hope you will try more

  19. Ian

    Oh and also,, can i use dried curry leaf in the same quantities as fresh…

    • The Mongolian Chef

      Yes you can but they do not have the same strength of flavour as fresh..so you may want to use a few more

  20. TH

    Just tried it yesterday (not following the recipe very closely due to slightly different ingredients at home), but was definitely one of the best indian style dishes we’ve had. Thanks for the great recipe.

  21. Caroline

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it yesterday and it was heavenly. I didn’t use any curry leaves or tamarind as I didn’t have them – it was still great. I’ll get some for next time I make it as I know I’ll be doing it often X Thank you

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