This is going to change my life.
Chicken Tikka Masala from the comfort of my own home. In only 30 minutes (minus marinating time). I plan on making this at least twice a month for the remainder of winter. It’s warm, spicy, full of flavor, creamy, and just as good (Zach says it’s better!) as at your favorite Indian restaurant.
Don’t be scared because it’s exotic and you’ve never made it before- it’s WICKED EASY to make! Promise.
Indian food is one of my favorites. Passage to India in Salem, MA is our go-to for the best Indian food around, and it just happens to be right down the street from our apartment. Lucky us? Unlucky us? All I can say is, it’s delicious and amazing and warm and perfect for the winter. However, going out to eat too frequently is a bit counterproductive to our saving for a house and eating a (mostly) clean diet.
Cooking Indian food is fairly new to me. I’ve dabbled with Indian flavors, such as with curried chicken salad with apples and raisins (which reminds me. I need to make that again. And soon!) but haven’t ventured much further until now. And while I make no claims that the method I used to make this is by any means authentic, I will claim that it tastes authentic!
The thing that makes this recipe extra super easy (and extra super yummy): garam masala. It’s a spice mixture that you can buy or make yourself, consisting of all kinds of yummy aromatic spices like cardamom, cumin, coriander, and ginger. When you already have the spices mixed, it’s easy to grab a tablespoon of it from the pantry to flavor this entire meal, along with cayenne pepper for some spice.
The optional but highly recommended part of this recipe: marinate the chicken overnight in plain yogurt, a little garam masala, and salt and pepper. I had a half a cup of yogurt left in a container, so I just mixed the marinade right in the yogurt container, added the chicken, and let it marinate without making another dish dirty or wasting a plastic bag! So convenient. If you don’t have time to do this step or forget, fear not. This will be just as delicious. You can even use leftover cooked chicken from another meal, if you want.
The other delicious part of this recipe: I added whole cumin seeds to brown basmati rice, which flavored the rice perfectly to match the chicken tikka masala. Serve with naan and you have a full, delicious, and authentic tasting Indian meal that’s guaranteed to be healthier (and cheaper!) than at your favorite Indian restaurant without sacrificing taste.
Easy Chicken Tikka Masala
An easy-to-make popular Indian meal that’s guaranteed to be healthier (and cheaper!) than at your favorite Indian restaurant without sacrificing taste.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4
For the rice:
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 1 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Chicken:
- 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt plus 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, grated*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 cups (1 small can) crushed or pureed tomatoes
- 1 heaping tablespoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk (coconut milk can also be used)
- Naan, for serving (optional)
- If you have the time, marinate the chicken in the yogurt, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and salt and pepper to taste for 20 minutes or overnight.
- For the rice, melt butter or olive oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add rice and cumin seeds and toast for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water and salt, bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Rice will cook in approximately 30 minutes.
- While rice cooks, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat.
- If you did not marinate the chicken, season it with salt and pepper. Brown chicken until fully cooked on both sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to pot and saute onions and ginger until softened.
- Add garlic and saute for approximately 1 minute, or until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and chicken.
- Once heated, add cream or milk.
- Serve over rice with naan.
*I keep fresh ginger in the freezer and use a microplane grater to grate it directly from the freezer when I need it. This way, you don’t need to worry about fresh ginger going bad, if you use it infrequently!