Fish Tikka Masala (Salmon Tikka Masala)

Updated: January 6, 2024, By Swasthi

This Fish Tikka Masala is hard to resist if you are a curry lover. It is moreish, filling, bursting with flavor, and tastes better than a restaurant version. Fish Tikka Masala is a variation of the popular Chicken Tikka Masala and is usually seen on the Indian restaurant menus. Use your favorite fish in this recipe but we are using salmon here, so call this Salmon Tikka Masala!

Fish Tikka Masala - Salmon Tikka Masala



For something special that’s full of flavor and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, there’s no better place to start than a Fish Tikka Masala. Fish especially salmon requires less marinating and preparation time, meaning your meal goes from stove to table much faster than the traditional chicken.

In other words, it’s perfect for busy people and not a bad way to introduce fish to picky eaters.

So what is Tikka Masala?

Tikka Masala is a dish of protein, marinated in spiced yogurt and roasted in a tandoor, then served in a creamy and spicy onion tomato sauce. Traditionally chicken is the most commonly used protein, although sometimes paneer, shrimp or fish is also substituted for a variation.

Tikka masala is delicious when served with some kind of rice or bread to soak up all of that enticing gravy.

About Fish Tikka Masala

Like the classic tikka masala, this recipe is made from scratch and begins with the preparation of a tandoori marinade. Instead of using the more common chicken chunks, our version of fish tikka masala uses salmon. Other boneless fish, such as cod, would also be delicious.

Traditionally the marinated tikkas are roasted in a tandoor. Due to the absence of these kind of clay ovens, we either use a skillet/pan or an oven. Alternately you may use an air fryer or an outdoor grill to roast the tikkas.

Meanwhile we make a tikka masala sauce that’s not only aromatic but also tastes delicious. It is finished with little heavy cream for some richness and then served with the roasted salmon tikkas. If you want to make the dish dairy free, you may use cashew cream following my tips in the instructions below.

More Indian fish recipes
Salmon Rice bowl
Fish Curry
Salmon Curry
Tandoori Salmon
Lemon Pepper Fish

Fish Tikka Masala with Salmon

Photo Guide

How to make Fish Tikka Masala (Stepwise Photos)

Prepare the Marinade

1. For this recipe you will use 1 lb. (450 grams) skinless salmon or any other fish of choice. Pat dry the fillet with tissues and dice to 1½ inch pieces. You can also use the whole fillet as is but I find these smaller pieces are better at absorbing flavors and spice.

cleaned fish piece to make salmon tikka masala

2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the following ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt (hung curd, avoid runny yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste (or grated)
  • ½ to ¾ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder (or use a spicy variety for more heat)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

Taste test the marinade and adjust salt. Add the salmon to the marinade and coat it well. Cover and set aside for 15 mins to 1 hour.

marinated fish to make salmon tikka masala

Make Tikka Masala

3. Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a pot/ Dutch oven. Add half teaspoon cumin seeds & 2 green cardamoms. I also use bay leaf and 1 inch piece of cinnamon. All the whole spices are optional. When they begin to sizzle, add 1 cup chopped onions and sprinkle half teaspoon salt.

sauteing onions with salt

4. Saute until they turn golden for about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (or ½ inch ginger, 2 garlic cloves). Saute for 1 minute.

frying ginger garlic paste to make fish tikka masala

4. Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes and cook until they break down and turn mushy.

adding tomatoes, turmeric and salt

5. Stir in ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala and ½ to ¾ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder.

adding spice powders to make fish tikka masala

6. Saute for 2 to 3 mins until the onion tomato masala smells aromatic. Cool down and blend this with water to a smooth mixture.

sauteing masala to make fish tikka masala

7. Pour the puree back to the same pot. If the sauce is too thick you may add little more water. Bring this to a rolling boil. Cook covered till the sauce turns thick & traces of oil appear over the tikka masala. The sauce should be thick, of tikka masala consistency. Taste test and adjust salt or more garam masala if required. Turn off the heat and crush kasuri methi in your palms and sprinkle. Cover and keep aside.

adding kasuri methi and garam masala

Make Salmon Tikka

11. You can cook/grill the tikka on a pan, in oven or air fryer

To roast on the pan, pour 1 tbsp oil to a non-stick pan and heat it. Place the fish cubes on it and fry until the fish is cooked through. Turn each piece & cook until the fish is cooked through and the marinade dries well.

To grill in oven or air fry: Preheat the oven to 370 F or 190 C for atleast 15 mins. Thread the fish to skewers. I arranged alternately onion-bell peppers-fish. Place the skewers on a lined deep baking tray such that the fish does not touch the tray.

Bake them for 12 to 13 mins, turning them to the other side after 8 minutes . Move to the top rack and broil for another 2 mins for charred spots.

grilled salmon

Assemble the dish

12. Pour ¼ cup heavy cream or cashew cream. (To make cashew cream, blend 12 soaked cashews with 1/4 cup water to a smooth puree). It is important to cook the tikka masala sauce to a thick consistency/ serving consistency before you add the salmon tikka because we won’t cook the sauce any longer after adding. If the sauce is runny, cook down a little longer until thick.

pouring cream to fish tikka masala

13. Add the grilled salmon tikka along with any drippings or oil in the tray. Give a gentle mix as the fish can break easily.

adding grilled salmon

Garnish salmon tikka masala with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with Basmati rice, Tandoori roti, Butter naan, bread or any kind of flatbreads.

fish tikka masala

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

Fish Tikka Masala Recipe - Salmon Tikka Masala

Fish Tikka Masala (Salmon Tikka Masala)

5 from 35 votes
This fish tikka masala made with salmon is an easy restaurant meal you can make at home. Serve it with rice, bread or any flatbreads of choice.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings3
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

To Marinate

  • 1 lb. (450 grams) fish – salmon/ cod or any other of choice, cut to 1½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt (hung curd, do not use runny yogurt)
  • ½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • ½ to ¾ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder (or use a spicy variety for more heat)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon oil

To make Tikka Masala

  • tablespoons Oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
  • 2 green cardamoms (optional)
  • 1 cup (1 large) onion chopped or cubed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (or ½ inch ginger, 2 garlic cloves)
  • 1 cup (2 medium) tomatoes chopped
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¾ to 1 cup water (more if required)
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) (optional)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or (cashew cream made by blending 12 cashews)


Instructions

Prepare the Marinade

  • To a mixing bowl add yogurt, ginger garlic, salt, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, oil and lemon juice. Mix together and taste test. Adjust salt or chili to taste.
  • Pat dry the salmon with kitchen tissues and add them to the marinade. Coat the pieces well. Cover and leave to marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes to 1 hour.

How to make Salmon Tikka Masala

  • Heat oil in a pot or Dutch oven and add cumin seeds and cardamoms. When they begin to sizzle stir in the onions and add salt.
  • Sauté until light golden for 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger garlic and saute for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook until they break down and turn mushy. Stir in the chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder and garam masala. Saute for 2 to 3 mins until the onion tomato masala smells aromatic.
  • Cool down and blend this with water to a smooth mixture. Pour this back to the same pan. If the sauce is too thick you may add little more water.
  • Bring this to a rolling boil. Cook covered until the sauce turns thick & traces of oil appear over the tikka masala. The sauce should be thick, of tikka masala consistency. Taste test and adjust salt or more garam masala if required.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and crush kasuri methi in your palms and sprinkle. Cover and keep aside.

Make Salmon Tikka

  • Stovetop: Heat a wide nonstick pan with 1 tablespoon oil and place the fish. Fry the fish on both sides until golden and the marinade is cooked well.
  • Oven: Thread the salmon onto the skewers. Place them on a lined baking tray, such that the fish does not touch the sheet/pan, Bake them in a preheated oven at 370 F or 190 C for 12 to 13 mins, turning them to the other side after 8 minutes . Move to the top rack and broil for another 2 mins for charred spots.
  • When the fish is cooked through, your instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part should read 145 F. You will also know it is done when salmon flakes easily with the prick of a fork.
  • Transfer the tikkas along with any juices left in the pan to the tikka masala gravy. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve salmon tikka masala with basmati rice, roti, chapati, tandoori roti or butter naan.


Notes

  • You may omit the whole spices but they add another layer of flavors to the dish. If you like more spices you may also use bay leaf and cinnamon, but remove them before you blend the ingredients.
  • Avoid marinating the fish for too long. It may break down and turn mushy while cooking.
  • You can add half bell pepper and half diced onion (layers separated) to the marinade. In this case double the marinade. 
  • You can also smoke the final dish for the authentic restaurant like smoky flavor.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Fish Tikka Masala (Salmon Tikka Masala)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 378 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 0.05g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 10g
Cholesterol 98mg33%
Sodium 702mg31%
Potassium 791mg23%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 1071IU21%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Calcium 77mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Fish tikka masala was first published in 2013 January. Republished in Dec 2019.

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
If you haven’t yet, MAKE this recipe. I used shrimp and added some Saigon Cassia Cinnamon Chips. Used coconut Greek yogurt. Not sure if it made a difference or not, but this recipe is restaurant quality food.

Can I put coconut cream instead of yogurt?

5 stars
I used cod, and the curry was tasty. I have saved the recipe to make it again.

I am looking forward to make this recipe but the photo instructions look different from the printable recipe. Can you help me?

5 stars
The sauce is incredibly delicious and half of the tikkas didn’t make it to the sauce. We made a large batch of the sauce for the days to come. Going to make this again and again.

5 stars
This recipe turned out so well. I love the way you simplify these restaurant dishes for us. Thank you.

5 stars
I’ve eaten fish tikka masala in restaurants for decades. I decided to learn how to make it at home, and followed this recipe. Now I’m spoiled and can only eat it at home — it’s that good. I’ve made it many times now and came back to say thank you:)

Can we skip lemon juice ?

Can any boneless cubes of fish (Barramundi/Bhetki/Mackerel) be used or does it have to be salmon only? Also for the gravy, instead of tomatoes, can anything else substituted?

I am very happy to use this recipes…It giving a wonderful experience for me..thank you

5 stars
So nice of Madam. You are giving the cooking information very clearly, it is very helpful to young & newly married couples and beginners.

5 stars
This one turned out brilliantly! Lovely rich sauce. Thanks!

5 stars
As always thanks swasthi for this recipe. It was a roaring success. Instead of using skewers i pan fried my fillets but still the dish turned out to be extraordinary,as per the praises of my guests.

So delicious ? thks

Your recipe looks lovely. Planning to make this but don’t have biryani masala. Is there any substitute for biryani masala?

I want best fish receipi

Love to have this gravy…..

rich and creamy..

Creamy and yummy gravy

This fish tikka masala looking irresistable. good one.

I soo wish you lived close by .. sigh this is so tempting!