Chicken Tikka Masala

Continuing on the take out-at-home theme, this week I cooked the ubiquitous Indian fan favorite: Chicken Tikka Masala.  While not difficult, this is one dish with many processes that might make you appreciate your local Indian restaurant a bit more.

Week: 10 of 52

Cookbook: 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra

The work for this recipe begins up to 24 hours in advance.  The first step is to marinate cubes of chicken for the chicken tikka (or kebabs). This encyclopedic cookbook has a variety of marinade options and I chose the garlic marinade.  This is a simple marinade of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs including coriander, garam masala, and cardamom.

After the chicken has marinated for 6 to 24 hours, skewer the cubes and get ready to grill.

Or, in the case of a March night in Boston, get your grill pan ready. Baste with the marinade while grilling and then towards the end of cooking, this cookbook recommends glazing the chicken with a mixture of butter and ghee (clarified butter).  When the chicken is done, it could be eaten on its own – it’s really good!

Process one complete.  Process two: make garlic-ginger paste.  This involves frying garlic, ginger & onions in ghee until browned.  The fried garlic, ginger & onions is then blended with yogurt to make a paste.  It’s supposed to be smooth – mine was a bit chunky, but I’m fine with that.

Process two complete.  Process three: actually cook the meal!

To make chicken tikka masala, you first puree fresh tomatoes with cilantro.

In a pan, heat the garlic-ginger paste with some of the ghee left from frying the ingredients of the paste.  Add the tomato mixture and simmer until the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in a spice mixture of coriander, cardamom, fenugreek, garam masala, paprika, and salt for about a minute.  Follow that with a cup of water and the grilled chicken.  Simmer for about 5 minutes to heat the chicken.

Finally, mix in a half cup of heavy cream and simmer for another 5 minutes.

I served this with brown basmati rice and some naan that we picked up at Whole Foods.  Overall, this dish came out really well.  If I could find a pre-made garlic-ginger paste, I would make this frequently, because the rest is easy.  The paste is a lot of effort for a small amount of product!


  • Chicken breast
  • Garlic
  • Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Garam Masala
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Ghee
  • Butter
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Yogurt
  • Tomatoes
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Heavy Cream

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