Chicken Tikka Masala

This is the best chicken tikka masala ever and it is very easy. It’s a combination of a few recipes that I like, along with some of my own adjustments. I make it in my largest dutch oven, but I have made it in a basic large pot as well. I serve it over brown rice and put the cilantro on a side so everyone can add as much as they like. Also, I bought a jar of garam masala in the spice aisle of my grocery store, but it is kind of expensive and not available in all stores. You could try to make your own from a recipe on the internet if you like (let me know if you find a good one!).

Notes: If possible, plan ahead so you can marinade the chicken overnight. Otherwise, let it marinade as long as possible. When I don’t have cardamum for the marinade, I have added 1 tsp ground cinnamon instead. I have also forgotten to add the lemon juice in the marinade and it still turned out well (why it is labeled optional below).

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tbs lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbs grated fresh)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (approximately 2 lbs), cubed to no larger than 1 inch
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds (I have used both slivers or whole), ground or finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbs fresh, minced)
  • 1 1/2 tbs garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped


Put the chicken cubes in a dish and spread them out a little. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a measuring cup and pour over the chicken. Mix everything together, cover with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinade overnight.

(The next day) Heat two tbs olive oil in your pot. Turn heat to medium and add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining spices and mix, letting everything cook for about a minute. Mix in the canned tomatoes and sauce. Let the mix cook for 8 minutes with the lid partially on. Stir in the chicken chunks and marinade. Cook for an additional 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Turn to low and add cream and almonds. Cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.


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