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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    Delicious!!! Came out perfect every time! Will def make again! I added chickpeas which was a nice touch to the dish. Love it!
    This dish was absolutely delicious! I agree that the recipe was easy to follow. We kept the seeds in only one of the serrano peppers and that made for the perfect amount of heat. Served as suggested with basmati rice and naan bread. Big hit with the entire family!
    A dish you will crave. Easy to follow recipe with 5 star restaurant quality.
    In Scotland you can get this but they do fries instead of rice lol. It was good!
    This is absolutely delicious!! Restaurant quality!
    It was delicious and easy to make except it was too salty for us. Next time, I will almost eliminate the salt.
    Delicious. Did not make Ginger-Garlic Paste finely minced instead. We loved it.
    Love recipe but I made mistake. Make the paste as mentioned. I will definitely make over & over.
    Relatively easy and delicious! I was amazed at how good it was.
    So much healthier than at a restaurant! Paired it Aarti's Spinach with homemade Paneer, Curry Cauliflower and Naan - what a fun way to spend a snow day and way cheaper than the restaurant!
    A definite keeper.
    This was great! the next day we bbq'd more chicken in a second batch of the marinade and it was good too.
    We found this to be excellent! We love Indian food and it is hard to find really good recipes. This one is a keeper.
    Really good, worth every minute of time to prepare. Take each step without skimping.
    The dish was very, very delicious!! My family loved it. My husband said dish was better than the one we eat at a local Indian restaurant!!
    I really enjoyed this recipe. I only used one pepper as my husband doesn't like things terribly spicy. I also didn't have any tomato paste, and the roma tomatoes were really sad at the grocery store. I added in the juice from a can of diced tomatoes at the time it said to add in the paste and then added a can of petit diced tomatoes to the sauce instead of the diced roma. I also used half and half instead of cream. It was thick and delicious! I served with rice and naan as well as the aloo gobi recipe from the same episode.
    So good! My boyfriend and I were over the moon for this! It was a decent amount of work, but totally worth every minute. I followed the recipe pretty closely, just omitted the fenugreek. I served it with basmati rice and naan.
    Absolutely great! The whole family loved it.
    Wow! Didn't think I had it in me to make this. I'm always nervous to try something new but I was craving Indian and didn't want to spend a ton of money on it.  
    I don't eat meat so I used basa fish instead. I added lemon juice, cilantro, and tumeric to the marinade for the fish and used sour cream instead of yogurt. Broiled it for about 15 min on skewers and It came out sooooooooooooooooooooo good!! I could have eaten the fish by it self! 
    For the sauce I didn't have garam masala so I just substituted it with cinnamon and cumin. I also took everyone's advice and added onion. I used 2 Serrano peppers and added chili AND cayenne pepper and still thought it was a bit mild so next time I won't cut out the seeds. I also used tomatoes in a can so next time I'll use less water. I also added some more tumeric and used light cream. DELICIOUS!!!!! 
    Can't wait to try this with shrimp! 
    Whoa. I have made, like, 10 different versions of Chicken Tikka Masala, including one created by Cooks Illustrated. None of them come even close to the awesomeness of this recipe. I am so grateful to have found this recipe. Also, I used chicken breast instead of thighs, broiled them instead of grilled them, and used canned diced tomato instead of fresh. It seems that all of these substitutes worked just fine. Aarti - THANK YOU!
    Amazing! I didn't have plain yogurt, so I used sour cream for the marinade. I also used about 1/3 of the butter and omitted the cream. This was absolutely delicious and I'll happily make it again and again!
    It was yum! It is slightly complicated for someone who is random and easily distracted (I almost burned it too badly at the tomato paste stage. Despite the little charred bits, it was awesome. I like to cook the cilantro in the sauce, authentic or not, so I threw that in in the last minutes. Some jasmine rice, peas, and naan made the perfect meal. My foodie two year old loved it too.
    This dish came out amazing! It takes a while to make it, but it's definitely worth it.
    Five stars! I'm not a huge fan of ginger and was a bit nervous with the amount the recipe called for, but it added a great taste to the end product. I made a few substations the second time I made it and I like it even more this way: 
    - 1-1/2 lb. chicken tender cuts instead of thighs 
    - light coconut milk instead of heavy cream
    Terrific! One of my favorite dishes, and this one was as good as any Tikka Masala I've had. I left all the seeds in, so it was a bit spicier than other versions I've had, but I liked it that way. Will make again.
    Very yummy. I didn't add the cream and it was good without it.
    I saw this on a food network episode and tried it the next week. I have since served it for dinner numerous times, each time with different guests. It has been a hit every time I serve it. Having ha cumcumber and avocado salad dressed with lemon juice, salt and cilantro adds even more pizazz to this dish. I'ts a sure winner!
    This recipe is definitely a keeper. Better than the restaurant!!! I didn't have paprika on hand or the leaves but lemme tell you, that it was still delicious. I didn't have time to fire up the grill so I broiled for a few mins. I added some potatoes with yellow and red peppers. Hands down one of the best recipes thus far for me.
    This was AMAZING! We tried it two different ways - the original recipe (a hit with the omnivores and a vegetarian version that swapped the marinated chicken for broccoli, lightly sauteed in a little bit of olive oil (the vegetarians in the family LOVED it!!! Thanks for such a great dinner and all the little notes and comments you add to the recipes when they are posted! In a word...SPLENDIFEROUS! =
    This was fabulous! I used 3 peppers to up the spice of the dish and it sure did work! This was more time consuming than I originally had planned but it was well worth it. I used to work at an Indian restaurant and this recipe blows the restaurant's out of the water!
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