Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve been dying to make chicken tikka masala for ages…not only because it is so, so, so delicious, but because it is also fun to say.  Tikka Masala…it’s up there with Zucchini Carpaccio in terms of things you can say you are making for dinner and sound super-exotic.

 So in order to do this, I needed two things.  One was garam masala, which is a special spice blend.  If you don’t have any and neither does your supermarket, you can get some by clicking here.  Or you can do what I do, which is ask my mom if she has any.

Of course she did.

The next thing you need is an absolutely totally reliable recipe, because while the end result is wonderful, I’m not gonna lie to you.  You are going to be spending some quality time with your kitchen (so plan this one for a lazy Sunday afternoon.)  I went where I always go for totally reliable, which is Cooks Illustrated.  And sure enough, there it was, and now that I had Garam Masala I was ready to rock.

First you make a lovely, aromatic spice mixture that you are going to coat your chicken with.  Next, you are going to make a lovely aromatic creamy sauce.  Next, you are going to dunk your chicken into a lovely aromatic mixture of yogurt, garlic and ginger and broil it until it is gorgeously cooked with a little bit of char.

Now cut up that chicken into chunks, stir it into the sauce, and then spoon the whole thing over some rice.  Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.  Say Chicken Tikka Masala three times fast and dig in.


From Cooks Illustrated


Chicken Tikka Masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1¼ cups)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ¼c up chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
For the Chicken
  1. Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
For the Sauce
  1. Heat oil in 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 cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  2. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  3. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro or parsley, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.


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  1. Joanne says

    I could say tikka masala over and over again and never get bored. I could also drink that sauce for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never get bored.


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