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Chicken Vindaloo vs Tikka Masala – Which You Should Order!

Norah Clark
Indian food on a table.

Chicken Vindaloo and Chicken Tikka Masala are both popular Indian dishes, but they differ in flavor and preparation. Vindaloo is known for its spicy and tangy profile, often made with vinegar and hot spices. Tikka Masala, on the other hand, has a creamy tomato-based sauce with milder spices, resulting in a rich and mildly spiced flavor. Your preference depends on your taste for spice and degree of creaminess.

Few items are as well-known as the masala tikka. This recipe has many variations, but the flavor is still a classic. It perfectly illustrates Indian cuisine since it contains numerous well-known Asian spices.

However, chicken vindaloo is equally loved across the globe.

Although its roots aren’t in Indian cookbooks, it was adapted by Asian cuisines and has received the full treatment of spices through numerous modifications to the recipe.

Overview Chicken Vindaloo vs Tikka Masala

Dish Chicken Vindaloo Tikka Masala
Spiciness Very spicy to mild It’s not that spicy.
The type of meat you like. Has bone-in chicken meat It has boneless chicken breast meat
Texture A curry that is smooth and creamy. Smooth and thick gravy
Different types of spices It is a blend of ground and whole spices. A mixture of just ground spices
Flavor The flavor is spicy and slightly tangy. A rich, earthy flavor with some spice and sweetness

Tikka Masala

Tikka masala

Tikka masala comes from India, but it’s not originally from India.

In the 1960s, there was a massive number of Indian immigrants who settled in Britain. They were competent chefs who carried their secrets to Indian spices and delicious curry recipes.

They are believed to have developed the first version of masala tikka in Britain to meet the requirements of the people living there.

Because the British could not include dry paste in their daily diet, the chefs came up with tomato-based curries that combined garam masala spice with herbs and onions that were deep-fried.

Tikka masala gained popularity after opening brand new Indian restaurants across the European region. Today, it is well-known as a flavorful curry that is served with flatbread or rice with aromatic flavors.

Tikka masala is whipped up in a matter of minutes which makes it a fantastic dish to serve at streetside kiosks or even in elegant restaurants. It’s like butter chicken, but it does not make use of dairy products aside from yogurt.


This dish has a full-bodied flavor that balances spices as well as herbs and sweetness.

Since it’s a tomato-based dish, the dish has a slight umami-y and sour flavor. The curry is thick and provides a satisfying taste when paired with chicken pieces.

The color of this dish appears more orange because of the spices and the tomato purée.

Incredibly, a study revealed it is possible to find many more than 40 different variations of the recipe, and they all share only one thing in common: using chicken!

Whatever recipe you pick, you can easily recognize and appreciate the aromas of the masala tikka containing garam masala, coriander and cumin, nutmeg, and much more.

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken vindaloo

Vindaloo was originally a Portuguese dish that was later adopted by India.

A century ago, Portuguese sailors carried with them barrels filled with meat seasoned with a mix of garlic and wine in order to preserve the meat and spice up the food. The sailors eventually found homes in a state called Goa.

The locals used this brined meat and then added it to a mixture of Indian spices that gave birth to Vindaloo. This spicy gravy-based meal was huge hit with the culinary palates of both people from the area and foreigners.

It became so famous that many people used the recipe over the oceans and began Vindalooage of vindaloo!

Chicken vindaloo isn’t typically made with onion or tomatoes. Instead, it relies on garam masala, whole spices along with vinegar for marinating the meat and to flavor this curry. Similar to tikka masala, there are Vindaloo variations of this recipe.

Some cook with tomato puree and onions to reduce the heat, while some include a little yogurt to reduce the spiciness. If you’d like to relish this meal, we suggest making it in the traditional manner – without tomato paste and onions.


Vindaloo has a slightly spicy and sour sauce that has an even consistency. When compared to tikka masala, which is made up of the caramelization of onions, this curry does not have a grainy consistency.

Additionally, because vindaloo is made with the bone of the meat, the wine adds a distinct flavor to chicken because of its extraction process of the bone broth in preparation.

Additionally, as the meat is pre-marinated, you will get a Vindaloo taste of the chicken’s meat and spices.

Visually, vindaloo has a reddish hue due to the use of dried red chilies; however, its color can range from reddish brown to reddish-orange when you add other ingredients, such as onions and tomatoes.

Vindaloo is served with vindaloo naan, flatbread, or fragrant basmati rice.

Tikka Masala Recipe

To fully comprehend and appreciate the two dishes, it is necessary to look at the process of making them and the ingredients that each recipe makes use of.

Let’s start with the most loved dish of many: the tikka masala! To prepare a quick portion of tikka masala, you’ll require:


  • The breast meat of a boneless chicken is about 1-2 pounds.
  • Onions 2 Large
  • Chili 2-3 Large
  • Ginger 1/2 tbsp, chopped
  • Garlic 12 tbsp crushed
  • Powder of red chili 1 TSP
  • Powder of Turmeric 1/2 Tsp
  • Garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Tomato puree 1 tbsp
  • Tomatoes chopped into 2-3 large
  • Curry leaves
  • Fresh yogurt 2 tbsp
  • Fresh coriander
  • Oil 3-4 tbsp


  1. Cut and cook the onion in chopped ginger and chili.
  2. Incorporate the garlic and cook until the onions start to caramelize and slightly brown.
  3. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, as well as brown sugar. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Then, add the tomato puree as well as diced tomatoes. Cook in a 3-4 minute period.
  5. Switch off the heat and transfer the mixture into the food processor. Blitz until the mixture becomes somewhat coarse but mostly smooth.
  6. The boneless chicken should be cooked on low heat till they go white. It should take between 2 and 3 minutes.
  7. Mix the spice mix, then add a handful of fresh curry leaves (4-5) and mix them well. Then cover and simmer for around 10 minutes, then pour fresh yogurt. Mix well, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped coriander. Serve hot and with a bowl of rice!

Because this recipe doesn’t need marinating, you can cook it in less than twenty minutes or perhaps sooner if you have the spice mix ready.

There are many pre-packaged masala tikka spice mixes that are available on the market. However, you can make your own using the recipe above and then store the spice mix in the fridge for around 4 to 5 days.

Chicken Vindaloo Recipe

Let’s look at how chicken vindaloo is prepared. It is a traditional recipe, but we’ll add optional ingredients such as tomatoes and onions for people who are looking to lessen the spice level of this dish.

Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Chicken (bone-in the meat) 1-1.5 kilograms
Vindaloo Masala
  • Kashmiri Red Chilies 10 large
  • Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander seeds 1 tsp
  • Peppercorns 1 TSP
  • Cloves 6 pieces
  • Cardamom 3 pieces
  • Ginger 2-inch
  • Cloves of garlic 5
  • Powder of turmeric 1/4 teaspoon
  • Vinegar 3 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp of water


  • Oil 1 Tbsp
  • Bay leaves and 2 leaves
  • Cinnamon stick 1 inch
  • 3 cups of water
  • salt according to preference


  • A small piece of Jaggery
  • Tomato puree 2 tbsp
  • One large onion chopped
  • Fresh yogurt 1 tablespoon


  1. In a food processor, add the Kashmiri chilies, coriander seeds, cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds, peppercorns, garlic, vinegar, ginger, and turmeric powder. Blitz until the mixture is an even, smooth consistency.
  2. Pour the marinade on the chicken’s meat and let it sit overnight or for at least 2 hours. The vinegar that is in the marinade will soften the chicken and also add plenty of flavor due to the spices.
  3. In a large saucepan, prepare the curry by first lightly cooking the cinnamon and bay leaves stick for a couple of minutes or until they are fragrant. Then you can add the chicken marinated in the sauce. Make sure to include all the spices that you have blended. Do not leave anything out of the bowl!
  4. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, then add salt and water. Cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Serve hot and with an accompaniment of naan or rice!

If you think this recipe is slightly spicy, you can use the additional ingredients again to modify the taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to use tikka masala in the making of Butter Chicken?

Yes! Both recipes make use of the same ingredients and tomato-based sauce. You can make the masala recipe to make tikka and then add the dairy ingredients to create something that is exactly like butter chicken.

How long can you keep the marinade for the chicken?

You can keep the marinade in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days at 40°F.

You can also put the marinade in a freezer after waiting over eight to 8 hours in the refrigerator at zero degrees F for 2 to 3 months.

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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