Chicken Tikka Masala

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Chicken Tikka Masala is a popular Indian dish known for its rich, creamy tomato sauce and tender pieces of marinated chicken. This recipe brings together aromatic spices and flavors that are sure to satisfy your craving for authentic Indian cuisine. Here’s how to make Chicken Tikka Masala at home, creating a restaurant-quality dish that will impress your family and friends.


For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated

For the Tikka Masala Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste, for heat)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

For Serving:

  • Cooked basmati rice or naan bread


1. Marinate the Chicken:

  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, ground cumin, paprika, ground coriander, turmeric powder, garam masala, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, and grated ginger.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or ideally overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.

2. Cook the Chicken:

  1. Preheat your grill or broiler to medium-high heat.
  2. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto skewers if using a grill, or arrange them on a baking sheet if using the broiler.
  3. Grill or broil the chicken for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through and slightly charred. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Prepare the Tikka Masala Sauce:

  1. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat vegetable oil or ghee over medium heat.
  2. Add finely chopped onion and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until softened and translucent.
  3. Add minced garlic and grated ginger. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Stir in ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, turmeric powder, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the spices are toasted and fragrant.

4. Simmer the Sauce:

  1. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and heavy cream or coconut milk to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

5. Finish and Serve:

  1. Add the grilled or broiled chicken pieces to the simmering sauce. Stir gently to coat the chicken pieces evenly with the sauce.
  2. Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  3. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

6. Serve:

  1. Serve Chicken Tikka Masala hot over cooked basmati rice or with naan bread on the side.
  2. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro if desired.
  3. Enjoy this flavorful and aromatic dish with family and friends.

7. Optional Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with a side of cucumber raita or yogurt sauce to complement the spices.
  • Pair with mango chutney or pickles for added flavor.
  • Enjoy with a refreshing beverage such as mango lassi or Indian chai tea.

Conclusion: Chicken Tikka Masala is a beloved Indian dish that brings together tender, marinated chicken with a creamy and flavorful tomato-based sauce. This recipe allows you to recreate the authentic flavors of Chicken Tikka Masala at home, making it perfect for any occasion. Enjoy the vibrant spices and rich sauce of this classic dish with loved ones, and savor the delicious taste of homemade Indian cuisine.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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