Chicken Tikka Masala (From Scratch)

So, this is what happens when the missus gets left to her own devices and doesn’t have a whole lot of schoolwork to attend to. Six hours of food prep. Normally, I’m not averse to some glorious prep time, but the payoff has to be tremendous. And there’s a point of diminishing returns in cookery, a point after which, the food will not taste any better.

BUT—don’t be worried, folks. This one turned out rather scrumptious indeed.


  • 2 bone-in split chicken breasts
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1½ tbsp ginger root
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, sliced thin
  • 14 oz. whole peeled tomatoes, roughly mashed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1¾ cup water

Deeply score chicken breasts at 1-inch intervals and set in an 8×11 baking dish. In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Spoon out and set aside a third of this mixture for later. Into the larger portion, grate 4 of the garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of the ginger. Add yogurt, half the lemon juice, and 1 tbsp of salt. Whisk to incorporate fully. Pour mixture over chicken in dish. Use your hands to coat every surface of the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When done, remove from fridge to bring to room temperature. In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat until foam dissipates. Add onion. Grate remaining 2 cloves of garlic and remaining half tablespoon of ginger into pot. Cook until dark and almost charry, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Add extra spice mixture from above. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, scraping browned bits. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, mashing tomatoes every once in a while. When done, pour into an immersion blending vessel or a blender and puree until mostly smooth. Return mixture to pot and remove from heat. Whisk in heavy cream and set aside.

Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Oil cooking grates. With your hands, wipe excess marinade from chicken (but leave a little bit for flavor). Grill chicken flesh-side down for 7 minutes without moving it to create a good char on one side. Flip and do the same thing, another 5 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes. [Note: the chicken will not be cooked through—that’s ok.]

Using a sharp knife, remove the chicken from the bone and cut into bite-size chunks (you will definitely notice that it’s not cooked through). Place chicken chunks in dutch oven with sauce mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. When heated, add rice (without water). Stir to coat rice with oil and sauté for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is done, stirring every five minutes or so. When the chicken is done, it’s time to eat! Serve chicken with sauce over rice.

Makes 3 servings. Enjoy!


About Gerard

Fun-loving, well-read foodie.
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2 Responses to Chicken Tikka Masala (From Scratch)

  1. Jill says:

    Looks delicious!

  2. This sounds delicious! I’ve got to try it … I make chicken a lot and am happy to find new recipes!

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