An Iconic Restaurant Standard Comes Home: Chicken Tikka Masala

My Return to an Old Favorite

photo by the author
photo by the author

Chicken Tikka Masala


  1. To make the sauce, melt the butter or ghee in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion until well cooked, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the green chile and garlic and cook until well caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the cardamom, cumin, curry powder, paprika, and fenugreek leaves, and cook, stirring well, until the mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Deglaze the pan with the water then stir in the tomato purée. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove the sauce from the heat. Let cool slightly.
  2. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan on serving it. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the chicken until it is fully cooked and tender, about 10 minutes. This can be done in the broiler as well, also for about 10 minutes.
  3. Purée the sauce in a blender until smooth. Return the sauce to the skillet over medium heat and add the cream, stirring well; add the chicken. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste, transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with coconut flakes and yogurt on the side. Serve with basmati rice.

Dara O’Brien is the Creative Director of Lake Isle Press. When she isn’t cooking or writing about cookbooks, she writes plays and sometimes acts in them.

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