Chicken Tikka Masala

We traveled to India through our tastebuds and made Chicken Tikka Masala for the first time; and its turned out amazing! Russ has had Indian food before, but this was my first time and I absolutely loved it. The flavors and spices were so aromatic and tantalizing that our mouthes were watering the entire time we were cooking.

We love using Food Network to look for new recipes, so we jumped on the Food Network Kitchen app and found this amazing recipe by Aarti Sequeira. We started by making the ginger-garlic paste with extra garlic. Next, we made our chicken marinade by combining the plain yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, salt, and pepper. We then added our already cut up chicken to the marinade, tossing to ensure the chicken is thoroughly coated. Set the marinade aside while you prepare the rest of the meal or make ahead of time and marinade covered overnight.

Place a large skillet (we use our 9-inch cast iron skillet) over heat and warm the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic-ginger paste and Serrano peppers (make sure to remove all of the seeds from the Serrano peppers if you want it to be less spicy). Sautéed until lightly brown around the edges and then add the tomato paste and cook until the color has darkened for the paste.

Next add a cup of water to the skillet and start slicing your Roma tomatoes and add them to the skillet, making sure to stir occasionally. Once all of the tomatoes have been added, let the mixture simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. Preheat your grill and allow to heat while your sauce simmers. Once the sauce mixture has simmered for 20 minutes, pull from heat and allow to cool. Grill the chicken pieces for approximately 3 minutes on each side, allowing a good char to form (NOTE: the chicken will continue to cook once placed in the skillet with the sauce).

Once the sauce has cooled enough to be safe to place in a food processor, pour it in and blend until a smooth sauce is formed. Add the sauce back into the skillet and heat back to a boil. Add the chicken and either the fenugreek leaves or maple syrup (if you don’t have any fenugreek leaves, you can use some maple syrup – we used some of our delicious maple syrup that we got from Boyden Valley Wineries while in Vermont). If using maple syrup, add the amount that feels right for you and your taste buds. We used just a splash or two.

Turn the heat down and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 10 minutes. We prefer to let it go for more like 20 minutes to really allow the chicken to absorb the sauce flavors. While the sauce and chicken are simmering, boil some water and cook your rice. Once you’ve let the sauce and chicken cook for 10-20 minutes, add the cream and stir in.

Dish out your rice and serve your tikka masala over top of the rice with some fresh cilantro on top to garnish. Add a piece of naan bread for a truly hearty meal.


  • 1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • 3 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger and 3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, and cut into large bite-sized chunks
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 6 cloves garlic and 2-inch thumb ginger minced)
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced (seeds removed if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (we use smoked paprika)
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • Oil, for grilling
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional) or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Cooked rice, naan, or crusty piece of bread, for serving
Ginger-Garlic Paste:
  • 1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole (we use minced garlic)
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup canola oil


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