Chicken Tikka Masala With Chapatis

Chicken tikka masala with chapatis and pilau rice
Celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, with a fabulous feast.

Everything you need to make a Friday-night tikka masala feast, complete with warm chapatis and aromatic rice.


Preparation time over 2 hours Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour Serves 4



For the chapatis

  • 250g/9oz chapati flour (or half wholemeal, half plain flour), plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee, butter or vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing

For the chicken

  • 750g/1lb 10oz chicken breasts, boneless, skin removed
  • 25g/1oz ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • small handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

For the marinade

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 12 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
  • 1 large lemon, juice only
  • 2 tsp mild paprika
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml/¼ pt plain yoghurt
  • 25g/1oz fresh root ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

For the rice

  • 315g/11oz basmati rice
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 3cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 green cardamom pod, crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the sauce

  • 1 tsp freshly toasted cumin seeds, ground
  • 1½ tsp freshly toasted coriander seeds, ground
  • 3 tbsp ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 25g/1oz fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp mild paprika
  • 225g/8oz chopped tomatoes, tinned or fresh
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 120ml/4fl oz double cream
  • 3 green chillies, slit open



  • For the chapatis, first combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the melted ghee or oil and 120ml/4fl oz of the water. Mix together, adding a little more water if needed, until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Knead in the bowl for a minute or two, then cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into eight pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a ball, then use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each piece out into a circle about 13cm in diameter.
  • Heat a heavy-based frying pan or griddle over a medium heat. When hot, place one of the circles of dough in the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface and the bread puffs up. Flip the bread over, press down with a spatula so that it cooks evenly, then cook for a further minute or until golden-brown.
  • Remove from the pan and place on a warm plate covered with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest. Brush with a little melted ghee, butter or vegetable oil if you like, or leave plain. Serve warm.
  • To make the marinade, start by toasting the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for up to a minute or until fragrant, then grind them in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Repeat with the coriander seeds and set aside. (You can toast the cumin and coriander for the sauce at this time as well.)
  • Put a teaspoon of the toasted and ground cumin seeds in a bowl with the remaining ingredients for the marinade. Cut the chicken into 3cm/1in chunks and add to the bowl. Mix well, then set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the rice well in a colander, then leave to soak in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the ghee in a frying pan, add the onion and fry until soft and golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes.
  • Stir in the spices and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, ground almonds, salt and 300ml water, then bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add any remaining marinade, the sugar, double cream and green chillies to the sauce and simmer gently for 10 minutes until thickened a little.
  • Once the rice has soaked for 30 minutes, heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the spices for 30 seconds until they smell aromatic.
  • Drain the rice, add it to the pan with the salt and stir gently. Add 350ml/12fl oz water and bring to the boil, then cook on a very low heat with the lid on for 10–12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
  • Line your grill pan with foil and preheat the grill to high.
  • Take the chicken pieces out of the marinade and brush them with the melted ghee or clarified butter. Cook under the grill (or on a barbecue) for 5–6 minutes on each side until lightly charred in places and cooked through.
  • Add the cooked chicken pieces to the sauce and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the lemon juice and coriander. Serve with the chapatis.