Chicken in Creamy Tomato Curry: Chicken Tikka Masala

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
20 min
30 min
35 min

4 to 6 servings

  • Marinade:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • 3 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger and 3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, and cut into large bite-sized chunks
  • Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 6 cloves garlic and 2-inch thumb ginger minced)
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced (seeds removed if you don't want it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • Oil, for grilling
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Cooked rice, naan, or crusty piece of bread, for serving
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste:
  • 1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

For the marinade: In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator up to overnight.

For the sauce: When you're ready to make the curry, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the Ginger-Garlic Paste and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato has darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and the paprika and saute for about 1 minute to draw out their flavors.

Add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. You may need more water depending on how much liquid the tomatoes give off.

Meanwhile, fire up your grill. When it is nice and hot, lightly brush it with oil. Place the chicken on the grill, shaking off some of the excess marinade. Cook until it's charred, about 2 minutes on each side. (Don't worry that the chicken will still be a little uncooked, it finishes cooking in the sauce).

Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Pour back into the skillet and bring back up to a boil. Add the chicken and fenugreek leaves, if using. Take the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the cream and stir through. Garnish with minced fresh cilantro, and serve over rice, with naan, or a crusty piece of bread!

Ginger-Garlic Paste:

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste.

Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc. We always had a jar of this stuff in our fridge growing up.

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Cooking Tips
4.8 272
Hands down the best and painless Tikka Masala recipe on the web.  It's a go-to for my family of 5 at least once per week!  It doubles, triples easilty item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very YUMMY! I will definitely be making this again. I think next time I will use canned diced tomatoes to cut down on the chopping. I chickened out and took all the seeds out of the Serrano but I think I'll leave a few in next time. Very warm and comforting. item not reviewed by moderator and published
didnt taste like tikka masala item not reviewed by moderator and published
LOVE this recipe. My whole family cannot get enough of it (even the 6 year old). The ginger gives you the great warm feeling on the inside that always leaves everyone satisfied. I make this pretty much every week. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very delicious dish although I want to make a few pointers for anyone trying to make this. First off, good luck finding fenugreek leaf, which is an essential herb for this dish. I was lucky to find fenugreek seed in its place from a specialty food store. These two flavors are not the same. Fenugreek seed is more subtle, whereas the leaf is more assertive. With the seed, I actually softly simmered about a tablespoon in the cream in a small sauce pan for a few minutes. This releases the aroma and flavor of the seed, which is reminiscent of maple syrup. I then strained the cream in a mesh strainer over the curry right before serving. This flavor made the dish a proper masala. Before serving, I added juice from a lemon to give the sauce an acidic punch. I also finished the sauce with Borsari seasoning salt. Lastly, garam marsala should be added after pureeing the sauce. Garam marsala is a delicate blend of spices. The flavors are better preserved and released towards the end of cooking. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Definitely a make again. I substituted cubed pork shoulder for chicken and it worked perfectly. I also added small quartered criminis (after the long simmer and before adding the meat for the final simmer). One thing, don't use Greek yogurt, because the texture is wrong. Use American style yogurt. item not reviewed by moderator and published
So good item not reviewed by moderator and published
Fantastic! Didn't have serranos, used jalapenos. To keep mess to a minimum, left chicken thighs whole and ran them under the broiler, then cubed and added to sauce. I think this would freeze well if the cream is omitted and then added after reheating. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Amazing dish!! It looked, smelled and tasted like an Indian, restaurant-quality dish and was a great treat on a chilly autumnal evening. I bought minced garlic and minced ginger from the grocery store and that worked well. I did not have fenugreek leaves, so I added some curry powder instead. Will make again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Perhaps the best chicken dish I've ever made! So delicious. First try at Indian food too. item not reviewed by moderator and published
How spicy is it without the seeds? Making this for dinner party tomoz but all of us don't eat spicy item not reviewed by moderator and published

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