Chicken Tikka Masala

We grew to love Indian food at the Spice Shop in Taichung. Here is an amazingly authentic recipe that I can actually duplicate. Way worth the time. (Note that the chicken marinates for about 4-6 hours before cooking).


¼ teaspoon minced garlic

4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger (I used the jarred kind from the produce section)

4 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ cups whole milk yogurt (not Greek)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of salt (4 teaspoons)

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved to make them thinner

3 Tablespoons oil

½ onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup tomato paste

cardamom pods, crushed (use only inside seeds)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes

2 cups heavy cream (I know it’s fattening, but don’t substitute)

¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Steamed rice for serving

Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin in a small bowl. Separate mixture in halves. Into one half, add yogurt and salt. Blend well. Add chicken and turn to coat (I put it in a large baggie). Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.

Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler on high. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet (I spray the wire rack with Pam for easier clean-up). Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil on rack (about 4 inches from heat), until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 15-20 minutes. 

Cut chicken into bit-sized pieces, add to sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice.


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