I can’t believe that I had never shared a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala with you guys before. I mean, if like me you’re a huge fan of Indian food, then Chicken Tikka Masala is undoubtedly the first recipe that you need to learn, and even perhaps know by heart.
In case you’re not familiar, Chicken Tikka Masala is an extremely popular Indian stew that’s made with big chunks of tangy grilled chicken all blanketed in a deliciously creamy, spicy tomato sauce.
Of course, there must exist about 2 million different recipes and methods for making Chicken Tikka Masala out there, and a lot of them are probably much closer to the authentic Indian dining experience than mine will ever be. Again — I’m not Indian, so I don’t claim to be a specialist at cooking Indian food…
Still, I think that this version is VERY tasty, super easy to make at home and is close enough to the real deal that it’ll have you want to stay in and make your own, from time to time.
Or perhaps all the time!
You will need to plan a little bit ahead of time, since the chicken needs to marinate in a mixture of yogurt, lime juice, garlic, fresh ginger root and a great big assortment of fragrant spices.
The first thing you’ll want to be doing is mix all those spices together in a bowl, and then prep the rest of your ingredients.
Then, in a large mixing bowl, you’ll want to combine your pieces of chicken, yogurt, lime juice, minced garlic and ginger, and about half the spice mix you just made.
Toss well, until all the pieces of chicken are completely coated in the yogurt mixture and send that to the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until the next day.
When you’re ready to eat, melt a few tablespoons of ghee in a sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook it, stirring occasionally, until it’s slightly softened and golden, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low then stir in the remaining spice mix; add the crushed tomatoes and water and bring the sauce to a boil.
Reduce the heat, cover the pan partially by placing the lid slightly askew and maintain a slow simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.
While that’s happening, get busy cooking the chicken. Start by setting your oven to broil and then place a rack in the top position.
Thread the pieces of chicken onto metal skewers and place the kabobs across a dark roasting pan. Try to get the skewers to rest on the edges of the pan in such a way that the chicken doesn’t actually come in contact with the bottom of the pan.
If the kabobs were resting at the bottom of the pan, the chicken would end up sort of boiling and wouldn’t char quite as nicely — You’re wanting your pieces of chicken to become nicely charred, for maximum flavor!
Place the pan directly under the broiler — the closer the better — and cook the chicken until it’s nicely charred, which should take about 15 to 20 minutes total. You’ll want to flip the kabobs once about halfway through cooking.
Note that you could also grill the kabobs on an outdoor grill, if you had access to one!
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skewers and then add it to the tomato sauce, along with the cream.
If you’re not big on the idea of using heavy cream, you could very well use coconut milk instead. While not completely authentic, it would no doubt confer a nice, slightly sweet and somewhat exotic flavor to the dish!
Give the dish a good stir, place the lid back on and let it all simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chopped cilantro (or parsley, if you’re not a fan of cilantro) and serve with cooked basmati rice if desired.
Me? I like to top mine with a little dollop of plain yogurt and then hit it with a little squirt of lime juice…
Talk about yummy!
- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2" to 2" pieces (about 1.25kg | 2.75lbs)
- ½ cup (115g | 4oz) plain Greek yogurt
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1-1/2 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- 1-1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- Make the spice mix by mixing all the spices together in a small bowl.
- Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, yogurt, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and about half the spice mix you just made. Toss until all the pieces of chicken are completely coated in the yogurt mixture and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.
- Melt the ghee in a sauté pan set over medium-high heat; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's slightly softened and golden, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low then stir in the remaining spice mix. Add the crushed tomatoes and water and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the chicken: set your oven to broil and place a grill in the top position. Thread the pieces of chicken onto metal skewers and place the kabobs across a roasting pan. Try to get the skewers to rest on the edges of the pan so the chicken doesn't actually come in contact with the bottom of the pan.
- Place the pan directly under the broiler and cook the chicken until it's charred, about 15 to 20 minutes total, flipping the kabobs once halfway through cooking.
- Add the cooked chicken and cream to the sauce, place the lid back on and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chopped cilantro (or parsley) and serve with cooked basmati rice if desired.