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  • Writer's pictureTuck

Chicken Tikka Masala

Hi, internet. I'm coming at you from a cozy autumnal Sunday evening 🍂

This post we're covering chicken tikka masala. It is one of the most common Indian dishes served in the States, and it's delicious and creamy and has a kick.

This recipe is from Cafe Delites. I tried a recipe from AllRecipes first, but it didn't quite hit the spot. You'll notice this recipe is very similar to the Butter Chicken recipe I covered. The marinade and sauce composition are pretty similar, but this sauce is less creamy and has heat. Ok, let's get into it!


Chicken marinade

-28 oz boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

-1 cup plain yogurt (I used full fat)

-1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic

-1 tbsp minced ginger

-2 tsp garam masala

-1 tsp turmeric

-1 tsp ground cumin

-1/2 tsp ground chili powder (or 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder)

-1 tsp salt



-1.5 tsp garam masala

-1.5 tsp ground cumin

-1 tsp turmeric powder

-1 teaspoon ground coriander

-1 tsp ground red chili powder

-1 tsp salt

The rest

-2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil

-2 tablespoons butter

-2 small onions or 1 large onion, finely diced

-1.5 tablespoons of garlic, finely diced or grated

-1 tablespoon of ginger, finely diced or grated

-14 oz of tomato puree

-1 tsp ground red chili powder

-1.25 cups of heavy cream

-1 tsp brown sugar

-4 tbsp fresh cilantro or coriander


The first step is to marinade the chicken. Combine the chicken marinade ingredients and mix, and let rest in the fridge for as little as 10 minutes and as long as overnight.

Once your marinade has rested as long as you'd like it, and you're ready to start cooking, I advise that you first spend around 20 minutes prepping your ingredients, including dicing your onions and mincing your garlic and ginger. You don't need to complete any of this, but it's good to get a head start because, like the butter chicken recipe, the next steps can go a little fast.

Heat your pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is sizzling, add chicken pieces in batches. If your pan is a similar size to mine, suggest splitting your 28 oz of chicken into 3 batches of frying, so you don't crowd the pan. Fry the pieces for 3 minutes on each side and then set aside and repeat with your next batch. The goal is to brown your chicken and get some color, not to fully cook it; it will get fully cooked later on.

While the chicken is cooking, I recommend doing the following:

  • finish chopping the rest of your onions, garlic, and ginger

  • assemble the following spices together: garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and coriander

  • measure out your tomato puree

Once you've finished browning your batches of chicken, melt the butter into the pan and add the onions. Fry them until soft (about 3 minutes) while scraping your bown to loosen up the fond.

Add ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add your assembled spice mixture and fry until fragrant (about 20 seconds) while stirring occasionally.

Add in the tomato puree, chili powder, and salt.

Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce reduces and becomes a dark red.

Then add in the cream and sugar. Add chicken and its juices back to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling. Chop up your garnish (parsley or coriander) while you're waiting.

Your dish is done! Garnish your meal and serve with basmati or naan.


A truly delicious meal. Creamy, but has more of a kick than the butter chicken (and still relatively mild; I think the recipe is geared toward white people). It is chock full of juicy chicken and flavor and is so extremely satisfying. When my boyfriend tried it, his eyes rolled back into his head. The level of enjoyment was concerning 😅 I think it would be well worth your time to try it.

We found a recipe to rival the Butter Chicken one! I'm a sucker for cream/butter/any fat so I slightly prefer the butter chicken recipe, but it's a close call.

I'm excited to try more Indian dishes. The two I've tried are delicious, hearty, full of protein, and practical and relatively easy to make (they probably good meal prep candidates too).

I hope you have a good week and I will try to be back in a week with more recipes. I have several things in the works...


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