Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from

Believe it or not, I had never tried Indian food before I made this recipe. Interestingly, I already had all the spices I needed to make it with the exception of garam masala. In other words, it was meant to be.

Karen at recommends that you start your chicken before you start your sauce. I followed Karen’s recipe precisely but I did make two changes. Karen’s recipe calls for a fresh chili pepper, which I forgot to buy so I used dried red chili flakes. I also used half and half instead of heavy cream.



  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, pressed

Masala Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • red chili flakes to your taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • chopped fresh cilantro leaves


For the chicken:

1. Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small dish. Rub both sides of chicken with spice mixture, place the chicken in a container, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Use that time to prep the other ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, curry powder, and ginger; set aside.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position (about 8-10 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on a wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil the chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through cooking. While the chicken cooks, make the sauce.

For the sauce:

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in half and half and return to simmer. Remove the pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

2. While the sauce simmers, cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks. After you remove the sauce pan from the heat, stir the chicken into the warm sauce (you don’t want the chicken to simmer in the sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve over rice.


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