Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
Adapted from Food & Wine, September 2003.
  • 1 cup (240 ml) plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or seeds from 4 pods, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2-1/2 pounds (1.133 k) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure chile powder (For the best flavor, choose one that just has chiles, no other spices.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (35-ounce/992 g) can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • basmati rice
  • rice pilaf
  • warm naan
  1. MAKE THE MASALA MARINADE: In the large glass bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. MARINADE THE CHICKEN: Using a sharp knife, make two or three shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. ROAST THE ALMONDS: In the small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely while you make the sauce. In the food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground and set aside.
  4. Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack about 8 inches from the heat.
  5. START THE SAUCE: In the dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with all the juices and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
  6. BAKE THE CHICKEN: While preparing the sauce, remove the chicken from the marinade, scraping off as much of the marinade as possible. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on the foil-lined baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turning once, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and after cooling a few minutes, cut it into 2-inch pieces.
  7. FINISH THE SAUCE: After the sauce has simmered, add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken pieces. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
More Information

large glass bowl
baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil
small skillet
food processor or mini chopper
4 to 6-quart dutch oven

Recipe Notes

Prep time is hands on time and does not include the overnight marinating for the chicken.
Recipe by Andrea Meyers at