Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is slightly altered from the original in "Best International Recipe Cooks Illustrated." This is my favorite Indian recipe so far (and in my top 10 favorite recipes of ALL time!). Thanks to my sister who made it for me over a year ago. I LOVE THIS! It does have some unusual steps, but it is not difficult. Don't take short cuts and use only FRESH ingredients or it won't taste as good. I often double this recipe. It freezes GREAT and is even better as leftovers!

Serves 8-10
Chicken:1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts (5-6 oz each)
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS minced fresh ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Masala Sauce:
3 TBS oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
1 serrano chile, ribs and seeeds removed, chile minced
1 TBS garam masala
1 TBS tomato paste
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 large head cauliflower, washed and cut into small pieces
1/2 c. water
2 tsp sugar
2/3-1 cup heavy cream (I like 1 cup :-) )
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

For the chicken: Combine salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a small bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle with spice mixture, pressing gently so the mixture adheres. Place the chicken on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-60 min. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, ginger, and garlic; set aside

For the Sauce: heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook until softened and light golden 5-7 min. Stir in garlic, ginger, diced serrano, garma masala, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes, cut cauliflower, and sugar and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until cauliflower tender. (You can also steam cauliflower separately, and blend it, then add it to sauce for a smoother texture). Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm (sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance)

While sauce simmers adjust oven rack to upper middle and heat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over the sheet. Using tongs, dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated heavily) and arrange on wire rack. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil the chicken until exterior is lightly charred in spots 15-20 min, flipping chicken 1/2way through cooking (I always just cut a little into the chicken to make sure it is done).
Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into chunks (eat one chunk--it's delicious!) and stir into sauce. Stir in cream and cilantro, season with salt to taste, and serve over white basmati rice with naan bread and vegetables of choice.

-The chicken is AMAZING by itself and you could just eat it with potatoes, rice pilaf, vegetables etc or even use it as a BBQ recipe.


  1. Where do you find garam masala?

  2. If you can't find garam masala (found on aisle with other spices), here's a recipe to make your own (which I've done and it works well):
    Garam Masala is great for meat, vegetable stews, soups, rub for grilling, or sauces!

    Makes 1/4 cup:
    4 tsp. ground coriander
    2 tsp pepper
    2 tsp cumin
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp cardamom
    1/2 tsp cloves