Recipe courtesy of Young Sun Huh

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in London and is often referred to as the British national dish. It gets its bold flavors from aromatic spices, like cayenne, cumin and turmeric, evocative of Indian cuisine. Soak up the sauces of this rich and creamy dish with warm naan bread.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

One 1 1/2-inch coin ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 cup Greek yogurt

3 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved into large chunks

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 serrano pepper, with or without seeds, thinly sliced into half moons

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Steamed white rice, for serving


  1. Puree the garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender with 1/4 cup water. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes, and then pulse until finely ground in a spice grinder. 
  2. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the ginger-garlic puree, 2 teaspoons of the cumin-coriander mixture, the yogurt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the paprika, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric, the cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss in the chicken to coat and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours. 
  3. Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed wide pot over medium heat. Add the onions and serrano peppers and cook until the onions are soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the ginger-garlic puree and the remaining cumin-coriander mixture, paprika and turmeric constantly for about 3 minutes to cook the spices, and then add the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, the tomatoes with all their juice and 1 1/2 cups water. Gently simmer partially covered for 25 minutes over medium-low heat. 
  4. Preheat the broiler. Scrape off the excess marinade from the chicken thighs and lay them spaced apart on a rack placed over a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle the chicken with salt and place 5 inches from the broiler. Broil for about 5 minutes, and then flip the chicken pieces and broil until the chicken is just cooked through and registers 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer, 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a large bowl. 
  5. Stir the cream and garam masala into the sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Pour over the chicken and stir in the cilantro, combining to coat the chicken. Divide evenly among 4 plates and serve with steamed rice.