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Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food don't you?  Serve with Golden Spice Rice and Blanched Broccoli to balance out the slightly rich sauce on the chicken.  Hold on here.  This can be vegetarian too!  See instructions below.

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Homemade Curry Paste
   2 teaspoons ground cumin
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
   teaspoon cayenne pepper
   teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
   1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
teaspoon salt, or to taste

1-1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers
1 tablespoon butter or ghee 
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika

teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can
tomato sauce
1 cup organic heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat a grill for high heat or use the broiler.

3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill or broil until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.

4. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika, and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 1 hour for marinating; 30 minutes after

Chickpea Tikka Masala
Soak 1 cup dry chickpeas overnight.  Drain off soaking water. Simmer chckpeas in yogurt spice marinade (above) plus 1 cup water until tender.  Start at direction #4.  Where it says to add chicken, add chickpeas instead!


Colleen Albert
Our favorite Indian Dish is Lamb or Chicken Saag with Naan bread.
January 16, 2010, 6:41 pm

Jenna L
Perfect timing! With the current nasty weather, heading out to my husband's favorite Indian restaurant really isn't such a great idea. This, some fresh garlic naan, rice, and some broccoli will be sure to get him smiling while he contemplates shoveling the drive. Again. More.
January 16, 2010, 6:44 pm

Ellie D
My favorite Indian dish is Chicken Tikka Masala!! Thanks for posting this recipe. I'm making it tonight!
January 17, 2010, 6:24 pm

Jason Pitt
Thanks Cynthia. Do you know if the red coloring typically seen on the chicken tikka in restaurants is food coloring or a missing spice?
January 17, 2010, 6:44 pm

Cynthia Lair
Jason, The sites I looked at say that it is red food coloring. Not so good,eh?
January 17, 2010, 7:03 pm

Carol Koford
I made the Chicken Tikka Masala this evening. It made a hit. I also prepared the Golden Rice and blanched the broccoli. Lovely meal. Thank You!
January 18, 2010, 12:35 am

Carrie S
Absolutely delicious! Our toddler adores it.
January 22, 2010, 12:48 pm

Aura Aryeff
Saffron turns foods that lovely red color, but is quite expensive, so maybe people use food dyes in leiu of saffron?
January 22, 2010, 10:50 pm

B Shrestha
Recipe looks great. A similar recipe for comparison is at
January 27, 2010, 2:09 pm

This is great! I used chicken thighs because we both prefer dark meat and it was delicious. Served it with the Golden Spice Rice. Now our guests are going to get this dish!
February 1, 2010, 7:47 pm

Sherry Rothwell
Palak Paneer and our young kids love it too!
February 5, 2010, 12:43 am

Laurel Jones
Cynthia, I love this Tikka Masala recipe, and we made a bunch of the Curry Paste. Since I am new to Indian food, what other recipes can I use this paste in (now that I have a bunch of it)? Also, I would like to substitute tofu for the chicken to serve it for some vegetarian friends - don't know how to use tofu, however. Any tips?
February 16, 2010, 10:57 am

tammy g
This looks great and so simple. Who would have known i had all the ingredients to make this without going to the store?
July 5, 2010, 3:51 pm

Kristy B
I had wanted to make this dish for a while and finally did last night. It was SO easy and SUPER delicious! My whole family, including my one and a half year old (who tends to be choosy) LOVED it. Thank you!
July 7, 2010, 6:19 am

Tammy G
Okay, I FINALLY got to make this. I LOVE Masala and eat it every time we go to an indian restaurant, then we found it at Costco and bought is regularly. Well, after months of working too hard, I finally had enough time to make this dish. I was AMAZING and I could not believe how simple to make! The Tomato Cream Sauce is now memorized! 1/1/2/2. Simple! Thanks a MILLION for posting this recipe!
August 5, 2010, 11:41 pm

We have a tomato allergy...what could I replace the tomato sauce with?
September 6, 2010, 12:19 pm

ram patel
Hi Cin Can you please tell me which brand of tomato sauce did you use and from which store
June 2, 2011, 1:25 pm

Cynthia Lair
Ram, any tomato sauce will do. We use Muir Glen Organic tomato sauce which can be found in most grocery stores that carry organic products.
June 2, 2011, 2:37 pm

Stevie lopez
Hi Cynthia, would plain soy yogurt work as well as whole milk yogurt to marinate? Thanks, Stevie : )
August 7, 2011, 7:52 am

Cynthia Lair
That would work Steve!
August 7, 2011, 8:16 am

Jen B.
I love this dish. I make it about once a month. I'm planning to make it for some coworkers but would like to cut out some of the fat from the heavy cream. Do you have any suggestions?
November 16, 2011, 1:27 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Jen B. You could cut the cream in half and simply use water for the remaining liquid. Won't be as rich but could work. OR you could talk to your co-workers about how important good fats are in the diet ( :
November 17, 2011, 6:04 pm

Lauren Grimshaw
I was wondering if I could substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream? It is fabulous with the cream but I happen to have the coconut milk on hand....
February 13, 2012, 11:27 am

Cynthia Lair
Lauren, I think the coconut milk could work. If you try it, could you chime in again and tell us how it worked?
February 13, 2012, 1:41 pm

Lauren Grimshaw
I did go ahead and make it with coconut milk and it was totally delicious...I felt it was just as good as with the cream. Even my 4 year old son braved the specks of cilantro to eat it, so that was evidence enough for me!
February 15, 2012, 11:56 am

Donna Reusze
Made this for my husband and myself. We loved it.
August 19, 2012, 8:31 pm

Tammy Gifford
wonderful recipe. I no longer marinate the chicken, but I still use the Sauce recipe. I have eliminated the butter and use olive or coconut oil instead and swapped out the cream for a can of coconut milk. VEGAN Style!
April 3, 2013, 12:58 pm

Dan Sloan
We love spinach with cheese - Paneer Saag....But my first dish was chicken curry with broccoli - turned out great.
November 21, 2014, 5:56 pm

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