Chicken Tikka Masala


William Haab

Indian Food and Culture Assignment

History 2390



For the Indian Food assignment, I decided to make the famous Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala. This beautiful meal features a warm bed of soft white rice underneath a creamy, red tomato sauce mixed with chunks of chicken breasts. Before I organized my spices and started cooking, I looked into the brief history behind Chicken Tikka Masala and where it started. The origin of the dish is still highly debated; however, historians say it was discovered in the 1970s after a customer in Britain complained that his chicken was too dry, so a Bangladesh chef used a creamy tomato sauce to cover his chicken. It is also said that the Masala sauce was introduced to Chicken Tikka in order to make it easier on the British palate. After doing research on this meal, I was ready to bring it all together and make my own Chicken Tikka Masala.

While I was figuring out the ingredients and where to get started, I began to wonder where some of the spices came from and the history behind them. Out of the many spices I used, the Kashmiri Chili was the one I found to be most interesting and authentic to Indian culture. Kashmiri Chili’s were introduced to India around the beginning of the sixteenth century by Portuguese traders. This spice quickly spread throughout India and became a main ingredient in the Indian culinary world. Kashmiri became very popular amongst the people due to its bold taste and red tone. The chili was incorporated into food to dye the color of the meal while also creating a unique flavor, which is widely seen throughout Indian culture. Compared to other Indian spices, Kashmiri Chili is slightly mild with a hint of a smokey accent to enhance the other flavors. When adding it to the dish, It really made everything come together as it began to look like Chicken Tikka Masala. 

Cooking this dish was difficult, but very enjoyable. Because I was not completely familiar with Indian spices, I followed the directions exactly in order to make sure I did not add too little or too much spice.  As the process was coming to an end, my kitchen had a very strong aroma of a tomato-spice blend. The preparation of the meal took about 15 minutes, while cooking the actual dish took almost an hour. After the rice was finished and the chicken looked ready,  I mixed all the ingredients together and was left with a beautiful bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala. After cleaning up the kitchen, I was very excited to try my first take at Indian cuisine. Making the dish was a good amount of work; however, it was all worth it after the first bite. My family and I were pleasantly surprised how the food turned out as we all sat down to enjoy the Indian dish. I highly recommend making this Indian dish because of its great taste, bold spices and history in Indian culture.  


Siciliano-Rosen, L. (2019, October 04). Chicken tikka masala. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from

Kashmiri Chile Powder. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2020, from

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