Chicken Tikka Masala

Posted at 12:19 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 14:19:01-04


For the chicken:

• 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs
• 1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
• 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• Pinch of salt and pepper

For the sauce:

• 1 tablespoon ground coriander
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
• 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger (from 1-inch piece)
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 large white onion, finely chopped
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 1 1/2 cups canned tomato purée or 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional sprigs for garnish


1. Start by cleaning off the chicken thighs. Remove the bones with a small paring knife: feel for the bone and simply cut around it to remove.

2. Cover the chicken thigh in plastic wrap and gently tenderize with a tenderizer. Set aside while you make the marinade.

3. Combine yogurt, oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper, cumin, cardamom and paprika.  Place chicken in mixture, seal and place in refrigerator. Marinate for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.

4. Once marinated, preheat a medium sized skillet over high heat and lightly fry the chicken in vegetable or peanut oil, about one minute on each side. Slightly brown the chicken on each side over high heat for 1 minute on each side. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan - if needed, brown the chicken in multiple batches. Set aside.

5. Lightly butter the same pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions, fresh ginger, and minced garlic and let sweat and caramelize for about 3-5 minutes.

6. Add the tomato paste, water, heavy cream and salt and bring to a light simmer. Add the remaining spices coriander, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, paprika and cayenne. Let the mixture simmer and thicken on its own.

7. Return the chicken to the sauce, cover and bring to medium-low heat, and let it cook in the liquid until the chicken is soft and tender, roughly 15-20 minutes. Season to taste and enjoy over rice served with naan bread.

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