Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is used in many East Indian restaurants in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.  I absolutely LOVE it.   Its marinated chicken smothered in a rich and creamy sauce, over Basmati rice.  Mmmmmmm.


Chicken marinade:

1.3 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cubed (about 1 large breast)
4 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp mild chili powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 tablespoons lemon juice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp mild chili powder (like McCormick)
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
½ cup water
½ cup cream (you can use regular cream, coconut cream/milk, etc.-- but DON’T use milk that you would drink.  It doesn‘t provide the right color, thickness, or flavor).


1.  Mix all the chicken and marinade ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover and marinade chicken in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.  Then preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread marinated over a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until chicken is done and tender, but not dry.  Remove from oven and set aside. You can also grill the chicken until done, which is more traditional.

2.  Heat oil over medium-high heat, add chopped garlic and sauté until it becomes golden brown, stirring frequently to prevent burns. 

3.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add the chopped onion, and fry until golden brown. 

4.  Add the next 6 ingredients (lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, chili powder, turmeric, black pepper) to the onions, and fry gently for 1 minute, always stirring to prevent burns. 

5.  Add the tomato sauce/puree, tomato paste, ½ cup water and chicken to the sauce.  Blend well.  Turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat. Add cream and blend well (always add cream after the heat is off, never cook the cream, it will curdle).

Serve hot over Basmati rice (or like a stew, if you are avoiding rice).    

Tip:  Most Indian food tastes MUCH better when prepared a day ahead, and allowed to set covered in the fridge overnight, then reheated.  The flavors have a chance to blend better.

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