Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is a food so popular that it is one of the national dishes of Great Britain. No one knows for sure where this dish got its start, with a dozen or so origin stories claiming to be the real one. We are totally unsure about how it became, but we are certainly glad it did. Some say the British themselves forced this recipe into existence when a particularly grumpy customer in the 1960's wanted his bite sized chicken a little less dry and the chef, frustrated, added a can of tomato soup and some yogurt to the chicken and dumped it over rice, essentially creating the first rendition of Chicken Tikka Masala. Some say it began in an Indian restaurant owned by a man from Bangladesh who wasn’t quite sure about what to do with all of his extra chicken and yogurt, so he got creative with spices and came up with this. This sort of interpretation of interpretation of Indian cuisine by the British is kind of like American Chinese food, which while it has a good intent, is a little too buttery and a little bit too salty for true Chinese tastes.

Our recipe begins with two tablespoons of our Tikka Masala Seasoning and some yogurt. This version of the classic dish is not overly spicy, but just hot enough that you could probably leave out that extra chile you were thinking about adding and no one would be mad about it or even notice the difference. The instructions are simple and this turns out well, with a good flavor. We made the flatbread that we served alongside this, but any chewy flatbread would taste good with this dish. Crunchier breads would feel out of place, so something like an Italian bread wouldn’t be the right pick with this meal.

Traditionally served over rice, this beautifully colorful recipe is both filling and flavorful. Any rice will do, but white rice gives a very nice color contrast which is perfect for snapping a photo of. Brown rice is, of course, the healthier alternative, and while it is a little less aesthetically appealing, it is just as tasty.

 Print Recipe

Category: Chicken
Cuisine: Indian
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Tikka Masala Seasoning - divided
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 fresh serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cilantro
  1. In a glass bowl or dish, combine 1 Tablespoon of the Tikka Masala Seasoning and yogurt. Add chicken to mixture and stir to make sure all the chicken is coated with the yogurt mixture. Marinate in refrigerator 20-30 minutes.
  2. In a dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil to medium and add onion, cooking until just tender. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste and remaining Tikka Masala. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture becomes fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove chicken from yogurt marinade and place on a broiler pan. Place on upper middle rack in the oven and set oven to broil. Broil the chicken until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, turning chicken once during the cooking cycle.
  5. Add cream or half and half to the tomato sauce, cover and remove from heat.
  6. Stir chicken into warm sauce, stir in cilantro.
  7. Serve with cooked Basmati rice and Indian flatbread.