Chicken Tikka Masala

Dinners | November 22, 2017 | By

Autumn is absolutely my favorite time of the year, which also means I love the warm and fuzzy feeling of staying under a blanket, binge watching my favorite shows on Netflix and eating this scrumptious Chicken Tikka Masala. Trust me when I say it really can’t get better than this! 

Chicken Tikka Masala is my number one Indian restaurant pick but since its typically laden with heavy cream and sugar, I was inclined to re-create this and make it my own. Even though this home made recipe is a cleaner version, there’s no compromising on the oomph, I promise you wont be disappointed!

This is not a quick recipe by any means but some prep work can make it easier to whip up during the week. You could also very well try an InstantPot version of this, which I might attempt sometime soon. The first step is to marinate the chicken with some basic spices – red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger and garlic paste, salt and yogurt. 

There are two parts to this recipe –

Part 1 – Marinate chicken and bake/cook it separately

You could use chicken thighs or breast, I personally prefer chicken thighs cut into cubes for Indian recipes. First add the spices to the chicken and mix well.

Then add the yogurt, I used Anita’s plain coconut milk yogurt. You can use plain greek yogurt or any kind of plain yogurt, if you want to avoid dairy then marinate with juice of one lemon instead.

Don’t hesitate to use your hands to mix the chicken well so the marinade is distributed equally. Keep this in the fridge for up to 30 minutes, if you have time marinate the chicken and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Bake the chicken in the oven for about 50 minutes at 425 F, alternatively you can cook it in a cast iron pan on the stove-top for ten minutes on each side.

Part 2 – The Sauce

For the sauce I used a red onion and two tomatoes, whole spices (dry red chilies, cardamom, bay leaf, cloves, ceylon cinnamon), ginger, garlic, dried fenugreek leaves, salt, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. The winning ingredient of the sauce is cashew paste, to make it soak cashews in warm water for few hours and grind into a smooth paste.

I learnt this hack to peel the skin off the tomatoes – poke a knife or fork in a tomato and roast it over low flame, the goal is to peel the skin off and not really cook the tomatoes. To make the sauce cook the sliced onion and spices in some oil. Then add the tomatoes and cook for few minutes. 

Grind the onion-tomato-spice mixture to form a paste and let it cook until the oil separates from the sauce, add the cashew paste and mix well. Add water and let the sauce simmer for sometime, then add the chicken and finish with garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves.

Serve with naan, roti or rice. I typically eat this over cauliflower rice with pickled onions, yummy!


Chicken Tikka Masala
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  1. 1 Lb Bite Size Chicken Cubes (Chicken Thigh or Breast)
  2. 1 Tbsp Mustard Oil (or any oil of your choice)
  1. 1 Tbsp Red Chili Powder
  2. 1 Tbsp Cumin Powder
  3. 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
  4. 1 Tsp Garlic Paste
  5. 1 Tsp Ginger Paste
  6. Salt to Taste
  7. 1/3 Cup Yogurt
  1. 1 Tbsp Oil
  2. 2 Tomatoes
  3. 1 Medium Red Onion
  4. 3-4 Whole Red Chilies
  5. Whole Spices - 4 Cardamom, 1 Bay Leaf, 2-3 Cloves, 1 Inch Ceylon Cinnamon
  6. 1 Tsp Garlic Paste
  7. 1 Tsp Ginger Paste
  8. 1 Tsp Red Chili Powder
  9. 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
  10. 1/4 Cup Raw Cashew Paste
  11. Salt to Taste
  12. 1 Cup Water
  13. 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
  14. 1 Tbsp Dry Fenugreek Leaves
  1. Marinate the chicken with spices, salt and yogurt, let it sit for 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Bake the chicken in the over at 425 F until dry or cook in a cast iron skillet over medium flame.
  3. Heat oil in a pot over medium flame, add sliced onions, whole spices and cook until onion turn pink.
  4. Roast tomatoes over medium flame to peel the skin off. Cut tomatoes into small pieces and add to the onions along with ginger-garlic paste and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Grind the mixture to form a smooth paste and cook it again in the same pot.
  6. Add red chili powder, coriander powder and salt to the sauce and let it cook until the oil separates.
  7. Add cashew paste to the sauce and mix well.
  8. Add water, cover the pot with a lid and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Then add cooked chicken to the sauce and mix well, let it cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Finish with garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves.
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