We had a slew of recent & upcoming birthdays at work and I, as I typically do, put on a big lunch to celebrate. The celebrants gave me free reign to go wherever my culinary muses led me and this time we went to India. Granted, I can’t testify to the absolute authenticity of this recipe. I’m not an authority where Indian cuisine is concerned. I can tell you this: it was a smash with my work homies, who are healthy, Midwestern, BBQ-loving dudes.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Volume & Other Notes:  I made a HUGE batch. The original recipe called for 2 pounds of chicken. I tripled the recipe and used 10 pounds of chicken. Ergo, I edited this version to 3 pounds. I wound up having to use two 5 quart pots to contain it all. Also, since many people have a love-it-or-leave-it relationship with fresh cilantro, I left it out of the sauce but made it available for optional garnishing.

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)
  • Steamed jasmine rice (for serving)
  1. Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill overnight, or at least 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
  2. Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes with juices, mashing some of the tomato chunks with a spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add cream. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.
  6. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro.
I used garlic and ginger paste (found in refrigerated produce section at the store) rather than grating it myself.

BA notes that chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving.

Adapted from Bon Appetit.