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Chicken Tikka Masala


I haven’t had much experience with Indian food, but I found myself wanting to try it one night.  I thought I was taking a big risk when I made this, as I wasn’t sure if we would like it.  Luckily, there was no reason to worry, because we loved this!  It is now one of our most favorite dinners.  It was so full of flavor.  There were lots of flavors going on- the cinnamon, coriander, pepper, cumin, ginger, tomato, and garlic.  I loved how each stood out, but they all came together really well.  It is a fairly spicy dish, but if you want it less spicy, you can leave out the seeds in the chile.  The spicy flavors and the sweet flavors balance each other well, and you taste both in each bite.

This dish was pretty easy to prepare, and would make a good weeknight meal.  You first coat the chicken in a spice mixture, then you can forget about it for the next 30 to 60 minutes.  Then, you start making the sauce, and you broil the chicken at the same time.  Just before serving, you cut up the chicken, and stir it into the sauce.  I had never eaten basmati rice before this, but I really liked it.  It had a lot of flavor, and went really well with this.  It’s nice to have found a new dinner to put in the rotation, and I already can’t wait to have this again!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Source: Cook’s Illustrated September 2007

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken beasts, 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
Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 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 (can substitute 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. 1. FOR THE CHICKEN: 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.
  2. 2. FOR THE SAUCE: 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.
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. 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, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

9 Responses

  1. I’ve made this recipe, and I liked it too, but I had trouble getting past the idea that it was Indian-spiced spaghetti on rice. I’m a freak.

  2. Thanks for posting this! It sounds great and I’m happy to hear that it’s not too complicated. I’ve been wanting to try some Indian recipes.

  3. Chicken tikka masala is my favorite!

  4. What an interesting looking recipe – I’ve never made Indian food before, but it sounds like all the flavors come together nicely.

  5. I’d love to try something like this – the flavors sound wonderful. Little worried that the hubs would turn up his nose but maybe if I call it something else I could get him on board. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. oooh! We have an Indian restaurant near us that serves Chicken Tikka Masala and it is soooooo goood! I’m definitely going to try this! Thanks!!

  7. Chicken Tikka Masala was also the first Indian dish I ever made at home – I just love it and yours looks delicious!

  8. Cool Recipes from all over the world. Create meals that will wow your friends and family over? Don’t reinvent the wheel, make proper use of it!

  9. I am a big chicken fan and I love Tikka Masala. I also know that there are many ways of making this sauce. This one looks really delicious so I think I’m gonna try this recipe. Hope it’s as tasty as it looks!

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