Chicken Tikka Masala

I know it's hardly Indian at all, but I love chicken tikka masala so much. Just the smell of it makes my mouth literally water. I've made at least 5 or 6 recipes trying to recreate the magic that you get when you order Indian takeout, but it never tastes the same. Finally I cobbled together a few recipes and tips I got from looking at other recipes and came up with my own version. Does it taste just like the real thing? No, but it's close. For what it's worth, Andrew didn't like any of the other versions I made, but he really enjoyed this and happily ate the leftovers for multiple days.

Chicken Tikka Masala
(Adapted from multiple sources, including My Heart Beets, America's Test Kitchen, and Allrecipes)


  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Masala Sauce: 
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (or puree a can of whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  1. Marinade the chicken: Combine ground coriander, cumin, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the chicken breasts on a plate, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. 
  2. Prepare the sauce: Heat oil in large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, or until light golden. Add ginger, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, and cayenne. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt, sugar, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Season to taste. Remove Dutch oven from heat and cover to keep warm. 
  3. Cook chicken: Heat broiler. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position (about 6 inches from broiling element). Combine yogurt, garlic, ginger, and oil in a large bowl. Dip chicken breasts into yogurt mixture and place on wire rack set in foil-lined baking sheet. Broil chicken 15-20 minutes, or until thickest parts are 160 degrees and exterior is lightly charred, flipping halfway through cooking. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks.
  4. Finish the dish: Stir chicken into masala sauce. Serve over basmati rice. 

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