(Easy) Chicken Tikka Masala

This is one of our “house” dishes, something that gets made (by request) on the weekends at least once or twice a month.  I hate to admit it, but it’s actually an adaptation of Gordon Ramsay’s recipe!


  • Oil (we use Smart Balance; peanut oil is fine)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 -2 fresh green chiles, chopped and perhaps de-seeded (de-seeding reduces the heat, if you prefer; I usually use serrano, since we have two plants)
  • 1 to 2 tblsp. ginger and garlic paste (or 1 inch piece fresh ginger and 3 garlic cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lightt brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes (we typically use Central Market organics – it does make a difference!)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 4 -6 tablespoons natural yogurt (this is key – be sure to use whole-fat, Greek-style yogurt if you can find it!)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Directions
    1. Heat 2 tblsp. oil in a wok.  Add chopped onion, salt slightly, and saute for 5 to 10 minutes (until the onion begins to brown a bit).  Add chiles, stir and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add garlic/ginger paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
    2. Add spices; stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
    3. Add tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir well and cook for about 1/2 a beer or 5 minutes, whichever comes first.
    4. Transfer sauce to food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.  Add water if necessary.  (note – you can actually do the recipe ahead of time to this point and assemble the rest when you’re ready to eat).
    5. Wipe out the wok and heat 1 tbsp. of oil.  Season the chicken (sometimes I also sprinkle a little tumeric, for color) and stir-fry the chicken at high heat for 2 to 4 minutes – until all sides are lightly colored.
    6. Add back in sauce and simmer for about 1/2 a beer or 5 minutes.
    7. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt and some of the cilantro (unless Derah is eating it; she hates cilantro).  Serve atop a bed of basmati or jasmine rice and garnish with cilantro (unless you are Derah) and finely diced hot chiles or crushed red chiles (if you are Kyle).
    8. Time allowing, naan bread and cucumber raita are nice to have, too.

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