In my opinion, Chicken Tikka Masala is the perfect dish. Chicken bathed in a creamy curry sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. This recipe is from Bon Appétit from years ago and it’s a foolproof and the most delicious recipe. Totally forgiving if you can’t find all of the exact ingredients or you need to make a few substitutes, it will be so good either way. Some say Chicken Tikka is a British take on curry and some believe it originated in India and I just found out that some think it’s originally from Glasgow, which seems a bit strange, but who knows? If you do, please fill me in, it might be a Jeopardy question one day.
The chicken marinates in yogurt for a handful of hours to overnight, this is a step you don’t want to skip. You also want to make sure you have some naan bread so you can sop up the leftover sauce. Trader Joes Garlic Naan is a sure hit.
I have made this recipe quite a lot and I will be honest, in a pinch you can use greek yogurt. I have and it was still amazing. I have also served it with Jasmine rice, gasp AND I cut the cumin in half because to me, cumin is a very overpowering spice. Also, the longer it sits, the better it gets so don’t be afraid of the leftovers.
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
4 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
1½cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3Tbsp. Ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1small onion, thinly sliced
¼cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
2 dried chiles de árbol or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne.
128-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
2cups heavy cream
¾ cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnishSteamed basmati rice (for serving)
Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs and naan.