feasting with friends

Chicken Tikka Masala

In my most recent Sunday Shout-out post, I shared a recipe for Naan that I found at fellow blogger’s site, Simply Vegetarian. It happened to be the perfect accompaniment to this delicious Chicken Tikka Masala.

chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is a marinated and grilled chicken, cooked in a creamy tomato curry. This was my first attempt at preparing a curry. The question I now ask myself is, “Why the heck did you wait so long?”. I mean really, all it took was the ability to read {√}, specialty spice purchased {√} and patience with myself in the kitchen {√}. A short time later, we were rewarded with dinner!

chicken tikka masala

Half of my thanks for getting this curry made go out to all of the great recipes other bloggers are posting. Many of these wonderful sites I follow, regularly post authentic Indian recipes. The other half of  thanks go to my dear son, Travis! His request for tikka masala helped me step outside my comfort zone a bit to give him a palate pleasing dinner. It was delicious! What surprised me the most, was the excellent flavors the chicken acquired from the marinade. I’ll be implementing the chicken preparation far beyond tikka masala for meals to come! The marinade consists of a ginger/garlic paste [made from scratch], yogurt, salt and pepper. Few ingredients, yet flavor that said, “Wow”!

chicken tikka masala

Have you every made a curry at home? If not, this is a wonderful place to start! Fairly simple to prepare [don’t let the multiple components scare you, as they are quite easy] and wonderful flavors to reward your taste-buds. 😛 Let’s get cooking!

chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

chicken tikka masala

Ginger Garlic Paste:
1/2 cup garlic cloves, whole & peeled
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled then cut in 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup plain yogurt [I used Greek]
3 Tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound chicken thighs, boneless/skinless cut into large, bite-sized chunks

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Ginger-Garlic paste
2 serrano peppers, fine dice [remove seeds if less spice desired]
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
28 ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes [drained, sauce/liquid reserved]
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
Oil, for grilling chicken
1 Tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves [optional]
1/2 cup heavy cream


Prepare the ginger-garlic paste:  Place the ginger, garlic  and canola oil is the bowl of a food processor and let it do it’s job until a semi-smooth paste forms. Small, tiny pieces of garlic/ginger will remain, but overall, it will resemble a paste. You will use this paste in both the marinade and sauce; set aside until needed. Note: Both the size of the garlic cloves and thickness of the ginger root will vary the amount of final product. If you don’t use the entire amount in the recipe, it can be stored in a small glass jar in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. It is a great add-in for pasta, sauces, stir-fry, etc.

For the marinade:  In a large bowl, mix the 3 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, yogurt, salt and pepper. Add the chicken, toss well to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator overnight.

For the sauce:  Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the [1/3 cup] ginger garlic paste and serrano peppers. Saute until peppers are lightly browned around the edges. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until slightly darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and paprika and saute for about 1 minute to draw out their flavors.

Add the tomatoes [breaking them up slightly with your hand as you go], water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved tomato sauce/liquid or additional water 1/4 cup at a time.

Meanwhile…as the sauce simmers, prepare the chicken.

For the grilled chicken:  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, lightly brush with oil. Place the chicken on the grill [if marinade is extremely thick, allow some of the excess to drip back in the bowl]. Grill the chicken until it is charred, about 2 minutes per side. Don’t worry if the chicken is not fully cooked, it finishes the cooking process in the sauce.

Returning your attention back to the thickened sauce…

For the sauce: Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor or use an immersion blender [my choice], and process the sauce until smooth. Pour back into the skillet, increase the burner heat to medium high and bring up to a boil. Add the grilled chicken and fenugreek leaves [if using]. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, allowing the chicken to cook through. Add the cream and stir until well blended.

Serve over rice, with Naan or crusty bread.

Recipe adapted from, here.

chicken tikka masala chicken tikka masala chicken tikka masala chicken tikka masala chicken tikka masala

One final note: I was unable to find the dried fenugreek leaves [listed as optional in the recipe]. My regular stores did not carry it, though I know a trip to either our local Ethnic or Indian Market would have proved successful. Next time I’ll plan better!


  1. Pingback: Chicken Gyro | feasting with friends

  2. As yet I haven’t cooked this type of curry. But I’ve marinaded lamb and chicken with yoghurt before, and they turned out beautifully. And I’ve read you can cook meat with milk. Something to do with the enzymes – I never understand the science! As for fenugreek leaves, I’ve never seen them. Must look out for them in the International store I use for spices when I’m up that way next week. Partly as I’ve read several recipes lately that use them. Dried curry leaves I’ve cooked with before, and wouldn’t bother buying those again.

    • I have actually prepared a pork loin in milk, slow cooked on the stove top. It was really quite delicious!

      I’ll be seeking out the fenugreek leaves at my next trip to the ethnic market, as I’ve been told they add wonderful flavor. Tikka masala is definitely something I’ll make again!

  3. deliciouslynell

    That looks so rich and flavoursome! Yum! We don’t often get treats like that down our way, but now I really want a nice hot plate of this!

  4. Liz

    This is a very simple but great meal. The other day I made butter chicken. I want to try this too, with some steamed rice. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comments Liz! It was indeed simple and delicious. I’m making more of the ginger/garlic paste today to have it on hand. I loved the flavor it provided both the chicken and the sauce.

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