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Chicken Tikka Masala


  • 1 ½ Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups whole-milk yogurt, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ Tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated peeled
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon (or lime) juice
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, (or breasts), cut in half lengthwise or in thirds if extra large
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro + sprigs for garnish


Marinate the Chicken

  • In a small bowl, combine turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and salt
  • In a medium bowl, add 1 ½ cups of the yogurt, lemon juice, 3 cloves of garlic, half of the ginger and half the spice mix. Whisk to combine.
  • Cut the chicken into smaller sized chunks and add to the marinade, turning to coat. Cover and chill at least 4 hours, or up to 8 hours.

Make the Sauce

  • Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until it's lightly browned in spots (~ 5 to 8 minutes).
  • Add tomato paste, remaining garlic, ginger, and spice mix. Cook, stirring frequently until the spices are fragrant and the tomato paste has started caramelizing on the bottom of the pot (~ 2 minutes)
  • To the pot, add the crushed tomatoes, along with the liquid in the can, the cream, water, and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and stir, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally until flavors meld and the sauce has thickened slightly (~30 to 35 minutes)
  • Remove from heat and cover until chicken is ready (or after cooling, refrigerate if marinating chicken for more than 4 hours).

Broil the Chicken

  • Meanwhile, preheat broiler and place oven rack about 6" away from the heat source. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside the sheet.
  • Once the chicken has finished marinating, arrange in a single layer. Broil until the chicken starts to blacken in spots (it won't be cooked through), about 10 minutes.

Finish and Serve

  • Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer if it isn't already.
  • Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to the sauce, along with the remaining ½ cup yogurt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened nicely (~ 10-15 minutes)
  • Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs.