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Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka:

1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste ( I used some chile flakes)
1 tsp table salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chiken breast or thighs ( I prefer the thighs) , trimmed of fat (I used 2 1/2 lbs)

1 cup plain yoghurt
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves,minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 Tbs fresh ginger (grated)
Masala Sauce
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 tsp fresh ginger (grated)
1 serrano chili ( I used 2 jalapenos, since that is what I had on hand)
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs garam masala
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar (I used more like 3-4 tsps)
1/2 tsp table salt ( I used about 3/4 tsp)
2/3-1 cup heavy cream*
1 tsp turmeric, optional
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or to taste


1. Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl.

2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres.

3. Add the crushed garlic and ginger.

4. Rub it on the chicken and drizzle the olive oil.

5. Place chicken in a ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight (or several hours).

6. Take the chicken out from the fridge and add the yoghurt. Make sure it coats the chicken well.

7. In the meantime, get all the ingredients for the masala ready.


1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.

2. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

4. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It is at this point that you may adjust the seasoning and add more spice if you like it spicier.

6. Stir in cream and return to simmer.

7. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

8. Grill chicken on medium heat. Make sure you coat the chicken well with the yoghurt. Also, make sure you oil the grill the chicken can easily stick.

9. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce).

10. Stir in cilantro, and serve over rice.

Note: You can also do the chicken in the oven using the broiler. Just adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Now, I often make the chicken I have found it much easier to warm it back up in the sauce. This way you can even make it a day ahead or hours before.