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A Mixture of Flavors: Chicken Tikka Masala

Published online: Mar 08, 2022 Articles, Dining, Lifestyle Jessica Hallam
Viewed 3084 time(s)

Two years ago, on my birthday, my mother-in-law took me to Tandoori Oven for lunch. To say I loved it was an understatement. We tried the appetizer sampler, the butter chicken and the chicken tikka masala. I couldn’t believe the flavor of the food. The combination of spices, heat and textures was amazing. I knew I had to learn to recreate it at home! I tried a few different recipes and ended up combining a few. The first time I made it at home, my husband went crazy over it. (He wouldn’t go to the restaurant with me because he didn’t think he’d like it!) We now make it at least once a month. I serve it with basmati rice and naan bread. 

Ginger Garlic paste:

½ c. garlic cloves, whole

½ c. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into pieces

¼ c. vegetable or canola oil


1 c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

¼ c. ginger garlic paste, recipe above

1lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, I usually use a combination of both.

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper


1 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. butter

1/3c. ginger garlic paste

1-2 serrano peppers, minced, seeds removed, if you’re not a fan of spicy

4 tbsp. tomato paste

1½ tsp. garam masala

1½ tsp. paprika

8 Roma tomatoes, washed and diced

1½ tsp. salt

1½ c. water

¾ c. heavy cream


Cooked basmati rice, naan bread and chopped cilantro for garnish.


  1. In a gallon-size plastic bag add chicken, yogurt, ginger garlic paste, salt and pepper. Massage the bag to coat all the chicken and mix together the spices and yogurt. Marinate in the fridge for one hour or overnight.

  2. When you are ready to make the sauce, heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and butter. Once melted add the peppers and ginger garlic paste. Cook until the edges start to brown, stirring occasionally. Next add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste is dark in color–about 3-5 minutes. 

  3. Next, add the garam masala and paprika and cook for 2 minutes more to develop the flavor. Add the tomatoes and water. Stirring constantly to mix it well. Bring the mixture to a boil. And reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes adding another ½ to ¾ c. of water if it gets too thick. 

  4. While that’s boiling, fire up your grill. You want it to be very hot, brush the grill with oil. Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off the excess marinade as you go. You want to char the chicken on both sides. Roughly two minutes per side. Then remove and put onto a cutting board. You aren’t trying to cook the chicken. It will finish in the sauce. 

  5. Chop the chicken into chunks. And set aside.

  6. After 20 minutes, very carefully either pour the mixture into a blender or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. If using a regular blender, return to the pan. Add in heavy cream and chicken and return to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes to finish the chicken. Top with fresh chopped cilantro.

  7. Serve with cooked rice and toasted naan bread. 


  1. You can use sour cream in a pinch instead of yogurt.

  2. I have used 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes plus 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce in place of the Roma tomatoes, make sure to omit the water if you do this. It will already be a little bit thinner than the original sauce. 

  3. If you don’t have a grill, just sear the chicken in a pan on the stove. 


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