Is Tikka Masala Spicy? How Much?

The question of “is chicken tikka masala spicy?” has been controversial. Several miscellaneous opinions exist regarding this dish’s style, taste, and texture. However, the answer is incredibly subjective.

Who will answer?

Don’t worry; we’re here to assist you in discovering the answer.

So, if you want to know the answer, stay with us and read the article.

So, is Chicken Tikka Masala Spicy?

Yes, as the color of the dish suggests, it’s spicy. The reddish it is, the more you’ll think it’s hot. Yet, this spiciness is also subject to the region where you eat it. For example, if you eat it in India, the dish will be spicier for the sake of Indians who love a burst of hot flavors.

In contrast, despite its orange or red color, it’ll be less spicy when you eat it in America or England. Indeed, the spiciness of this hot dish is adjustable. While maintaining its outlook, you can customize the level of heat in it!

What is Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala needs no introduction as it’s the best example of well-recognized cross-cultural cuisines across the globe. Chicken Tikka Masala means nothing more than “chicken tikka,” which means ‘little pieces of chicken;’ and ‘Masala’ is just the ‘spice blend.’ 

Chicken tikka masala typically refers to the boneless marinated chicken chunks cooked in the oven or tandoor before adding to thick onion tomato gravy.

Chicken tikka masala is undoubtedly a super satisfying and comforting meal.

Chicken Tikka Masala Origins

Some claim that Chicken Tikka Masala originated in the UK and is an authentic British national dish. Others say that it holds its roots in India. 

You can find three main theories spinning around the origin of chicken tikka masala;

  • The first theory is regarding Mughal Emperor Babur, who disliked the chicken bones in the curry, so he advised his royal chef to prepare a boneless chicken dish. Since it had to be unique, the chef made it creamy and spicy simultaneously. Consequently, the emperor liked it a lot. After 1950, when Indians came to England, they introduced the locals to this taste. 
  • The second theory is about British Bangladeshis. Some historians believe that Bangladeshis brought this spicy chicken recipe to England and the Western world. 
  • A third and most popular theory is that a Bangladeshi chef in Glasgow invented this dish by making it spicy by adding tomatoes and yogurt. He made this dish for his local customer.
  • Lastly, food critic Rahul Verma says that the dish originated in Punjab.

While we don’t know who first introduced this Indian-British dish to Western taste buds, it’s established that it originated in India. For its origin, India, the land of spices, chicken tikka masala is also spicy. Today, this unique dish is praised in almost every corner of the globe, somewhere in Britain or India.

Chicken Tikka Masala Texture

The texture of chicken tikka masala is thick and velvety. You won’t find any chunks of tomatoes. Additionally, the spices are also ground finely.

Chicken Tikka Masala is marinated, skewered, and barbecued meat and has a characteristic thick, creamy, and consistent tomato-based gravy that sticks to the pieces of chicken. The flesh becomes tender, moist, and flavorous when ready and appropriately cooked. 

What Makes Chicken Tikka Masala Spicy?

Do you prefer more piquant-hot spices or milder seasonings? By and large, it depends on your choice of flavor.

Similarly, the spiciness of Chicken Tikka Masala relies entirely upon your preference and taste. 

It’s a savory dish with abundant spices, but recipes vary. ‘Spicy’ here is not in the sense of ‘Hot’ as you’ll find ample Indian garam masala in it. Thanks to the spice ingredients (especially Cinnamon, and Cardamom, red pepper) that impart a distinct earthy flavor to the dish. 

What can you serve with Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala is a delicious, mildly spicy, and creamy dish that is a fantastic weeknight meal for your family. It pairs nicely with traditional choices like fresh pillowy naan or flatbread, steamed rice, salad, and raita (made with yogurt, mint, cilantro, and a pinch of salt). It’ll be a delicate balance to the richness of this dish.

What Makes Chicken Tikka Masala Orange?

Have you ever wondered what gives the beautiful light orange color to the Chicken Tikka Masala’s gravy? 

These are the magical spices Paprika and Turmeric, usually used to make the famous bright orange sauce. The use of tomatoes further enhances the color.

How do you Make Chicken Tikka Masala Red?

Primarily, chicken tikka masala is of orange color: turmeric, paprika, and tomatoes, when combined with yogurt, create a bright orange color in the gravy. However, you can customize your gravy if you want to see it extra red.

Ingredients to make Signature Orange Colored Sauce for CTM

  • Grated Ginger
  • Minced Onion
  • Grated Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Chopped Chili
  • Tomato Purée
  • Curry Powder
  • Sugar
  • Cream

Sauce vs. Dry Masala: How to Use it?

You can prepare chicken tikka masala in two ways: by using dry spices or ready-made paste. To help you prepare in any way, below, we’ve listed two tikka masalas available on Amazon.

Disclosure: Hi, this page contains some Amazon affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We greatly appreciate your support. You may read our full disclosure here.

Maya Kaimal Tikka Masala Sauce

If you hate getting into the detailed process of making the Chicken Tikka Masala sauce yourself, don’t worry! This natural-flavored Tikka Masala sauce is just for you. Yes, you can also get the highly authentic taste of the sauce by using store-bought Chicken Tikka Masala sauce in your kitchen!

Let’s move to the incredible SHORTCUT!

Just cook the chicken chunks in this sauce after the grilling process, and that’s it!

Your Chicken Tikka Masala is ready to serve.

Rani Tandoori Dry Chicken Tikka Masala

Dry Chicken Tikka Masala is the perfect mixture of natural spices that gives the Indian touch to the dish and makes the preparation quick and effortless. It provides the gravy with a distinctive flavor and offers a mouthwatering taste.

You need to heat the oil in a large pan over medium flame and saute the onion until light brown. Add ginger and garlic and cook until aromatic. Instead of adding spices, you need to add the Dry Tikka Masala into the mixture and prepare the gravy.


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