Tandoori vs. Tikka

I'm trying to figure out the difference between the two. Most sources say tikka usually comes without the bone and tandoori with. Are the spices the same? Some sources say that tikka marinades use yogurt and tandoori marinades don't. Is this true?

  • Posted by: Emily
  • January 24, 2016


halloweenbaby February 28, 2024
Im a wuss when it comes to spice. Is there a different spice i can use with very little to no heat?
cookbookchick January 25, 2016
Huh! Sounds like Generic Chinese Dish. But I will read the article. Thanks!
Emily January 25, 2016
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I was mostly wondering about tikka vs. tandoori (rather than tikka masala vs. tandoori) - but this has all been very insightful!
SMSF January 25, 2016
My understanding is that tikka simply means "little pieces", and can be applied to chicken, lamb, etc., and is not related to specific flavor profiles or ingredients.
As others have pointed out, tandoori describes the style of cooking, i.e., tandoor oven, together with the spice rub typically used for tandoor cooking.
Stephanie January 25, 2016
Some good info/comments here! I would add that the sauce in Tikka Masala typically contains tomato paste/sauce, which definitely adds a distinctive flavor component.
keg72 January 24, 2016
At least in NY Indian restaurants -- I've not been to India -- there are three dishes relevant to your question: tandoori chicken, chicken tikka and chicken tikka masala. In my experience, the first two are essentially the same but for the fact that, as you note, tandoori chicken is served bone-in while chicken tikka is boneless. Chicken tikka masala is a different dish that is, as Nancy states, served in a sauce.
Lost_in_NYC January 24, 2016
Tikka is usually with a sauce/gravy component and tandoori is basically the style of cooking (grilled/in the tandoor oven). Tandoori dishes usually have a dry rub of spices used the marinate the meats & veggies. The spices for both are usually the same.
Nancy January 24, 2016
The two dishes certainly have a lot in common....both turn out looking orange, usually have yoghurt in the coating for the chicken or sauce, have spices like turmeric and paprika.
Tandoori chicken is Indian in origin, from the Punjab region before split of India and Pakistan, baked in separate pieces in clay ovens, sometimes adapted to cook on a grill.
The chicken tikka masala is a creamy sauced dish which originated among immigrant cooks in the UK, some claim from Bangladesh, some from Pakistan. To confuse matters more, others claim it originated in the Punjab.
Tikka masala was most popular international dish in Britain until 2012, when it was knocked into second place.
You pays your money, you takes your choice.
cookbookchick January 24, 2016
What came in first, Nancy?
Nancy January 24, 2016
Read enough online to know the origins are contested & that I don't know. I thought tandoori wad older, but I leave this one to food anthropologists.
Greenstuff January 25, 2016
Chicken tikka masala got knocked off by "Chinese stir fry." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2089796/Britains-favourite-dish-Chicken-tikka-masala-knocked-spot-Chinese-stir-fry.html
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