Chicken Tikka MasalaSource Chow

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serving 4 people

305 min


  • basmati rice Basmati rice
  • cardamom 1 black cardamom pod (or you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika)
  • cinnamon stick 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • fenugreek leaf 1 teaspoon fenugreek
  • fresh ginger 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger (from about 1 [3-inch] piece)
  • garam masala 2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger (from about 1 [2-inch] piece)
  • garlic cloves 1 teaspoon homemade garam masala (if using commercial garam masala, add 1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika and cayenne pepper)
  • green cardamom pods 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • heavy cream 4 green cardamom pods
  • kosher salt 1 cup heavy cream
  • lemon juice 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • plain greek yogurt 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • skinless boneless chicken breasts 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
  • tomato paste 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, preferably from Straus Family Creamery (see the What to Buy note above)
  • turmeric 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2)
  • unsalted butter 7 tablespoons tomato paste
  • vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • water 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 4 pieces
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
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How to make it

  1. For the chicken:1
  2. Remove the tenders from the chicken breasts and cut off the thinner triangular bottom pieces. Split the remaining thick ends in half. You should end up with about 8 pieces, 1/4 to 1/3 inch in thickness. Toss in a bowl with the salt and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.2Make the marinade by combining all the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a whisk or immersion blender to mix well.3
  3. Combine the cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, green cardamom pods, and black cardamom pod (if using) in a small saucepan. Toast over medium heat, tossing or stirring occasionally, until the spices are fragrant and hot, about 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a spice grinder and process until fine.
  5. Transfer to a small bowl and add the smoked paprika (if using in place of the black cardamom).2Melt the butter in a heavy 1-1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, add the ground spices and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the ginger, garlic, and salt and cook until the butter foams again, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomato paste, using a small whisk to blend it into the butter mixture.
  7. Add the water in 2 additions, whisking until smooth. Simmer until the mixture is a pale brick red, about 3 minutes.3
  8. Whisk in the cream and simmer until shiny and the volume of the sauce has reduced by a quarter, about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and set aside.To assemble:1To cook the chicken, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and lightly brush it with vegetable oil.
  10. Remove the chicken from the marinade, let any excess drip off, and place the pieces in the grill pan (you will probably have to do this in batches). Cook until the chicken has dark grill marks and the juices run clear, about 6 minutes on the first side and about 3 minutes on the second.
  11. Remove to a platter until all the pieces are cooked and cool enough to handle.2Bring the sauce back to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  12. Cut the chicken into 3/4-inch squares and add it to the sauce, along with any juices from the platter. Simmer until the sauce is shiny and has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  13. Serve with basmati rice.
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