I probably get more requests for Indian food than any other ethnic cuisine, so I was very excited to be posting this recipe for chicken tikka masala; until I found out it's actually a British recipe. This is usually done with heavy cream, but I like to use coconut milk instead; the subtle sweetness it provides works beautifully with the spices in the dish. Serve with steamed rice.

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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified

Directions

  • Place chicken in a bowl and drizzle vegetable oil over chicken; toss to coat.

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  • Whisk kosher salt, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, ground turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom together in a small bowl. Season chicken with spice mixture and turn to coat evenly.

  • Melt clarified butter in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Cook chicken thighs in hot butter until browned on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken into bite-size pieces.

  • Reduce heat under the skillet to medium-high. Stir onion into skillet; saute until onion softens and turns translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir. Saute until paste caramelizes, about 5 minutes. Stir garlic and ginger into tomato-onion mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  • Pour the crushed tomatoes into the skillet and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Pour in coconut milk and chicken broth; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors blend and sauce is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

  • Stir chicken, any accumulated juices from the chicken, cilantro, and red pepper flakes into tomato mixture; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until chicken is cooked through and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Chef's Note:

You can substitute tomato puree for the crushed tomatoes, if desired. You can also use 1 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream instead of the coconut milk.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

625 calories; 48.2 g total fat; 122 mg cholesterol; 1325 mg sodium. 19.2 g carbohydrates; 33.5 g protein; Full Nutrition


Reviews (287)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
08/16/2015
Have made twice and fabulous both times... however I made changes and also simplified the technique. used all spices as stated except cut salt in half and added a dashes of allspice and cloves. used chicken breast instead of thighs. cubed the meat added the spices sauteed in coconut oil (used no butter in the recipe). simultaneously I sauteed the onion garlic and ginger in coconut oil. once the onions were caramelized added to the chicken. the added a can of tomato paste and a can of coconut milk. no chicken stock was needed nor was the can of tomatoes. that's it. let it simmer for 20 minutes. Read More
(36)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
12/06/2017
chef john I'm your biggest fan and many of your recipes have become regulars in my week. but please consider reworking this recipe. I have made this twice exactly as written (thought I must have messed up somehow the first time) and this is simply BLAND. and Indian food especially should never ever be bland. the beautiful spices on the chicken aren't enough to flavour all that tomato/coconut milk based sauce. the result is unpleasant to eat. Read More
409 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 338
  • 4 star values: 53
  • 3 star values: 16
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
12/31/2014
This is a great recipe. After reading the recipe I felt it had too much tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. So I reduced the tomato paste to one tablespoon and the crushed tomatoes to 3/4 cup. I blended the spices and checked the aroma. I felt something was missing so I added between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves a bit at a time. That improved the aroma and ultimately the taste. Everyone loved the chicken tikka masala. We often visit a local Indian restaurant and they almost always include chicken tikka masala in the buffet. My husband says the chicken masala I prepared is as good if not better than the restaurant version. I have always thought that mushrooms should be included and the next time I make chicken tikka masala I'll use mushrooms in addition to the chicken. Thank you Chef John. Read More
(49)
Rating: 5 stars
08/16/2015
Have made twice and fabulous both times... however I made changes and also simplified the technique. used all spices as stated except cut salt in half and added a dashes of allspice and cloves. used chicken breast instead of thighs. cubed the meat added the spices sauteed in coconut oil (used no butter in the recipe). simultaneously I sauteed the onion garlic and ginger in coconut oil. once the onions were caramelized added to the chicken. the added a can of tomato paste and a can of coconut milk. no chicken stock was needed nor was the can of tomatoes. that's it. let it simmer for 20 minutes. Read More
(36)
Rating: 5 stars
11/02/2014
This is better than the popular tikka masala recipe that I've made a few times from this site! I didn't have any ginger or cardamom so I didn't use it and I used regular butter but besides that I followed everything else correctly. The tomatoes and coconut milk have a great flavor together. The boneless skinless chicken thighs work so well with this. It was quick and not complicated. Also I somehow made way more sauce than Chef John does in the video but I'm not complaining about that! One of best meals I've made in a long time. Thanks Chef John. Read More
(17)
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Rating: 3 stars
11/20/2014
EDIT: This was MUCH better as leftovers a day later with (a LOT of) steamed parsnips added to the bowl. Maybe the sweetness of the parsnips complemented/counteracted the salty of the spice... and the coconut no longer seems too coconut-y. Everything married nicely with nothing overpowering anything else. Very yummy. I've only had Tikka Masala at an Indian restaurant once in my life so I'm no connoisseur. That said my reaction to Chef John's interpretation as prepared in my kitchen is "I don't love it. I don't hate it." What's keeping me from loving it I think is the salt. Whoo! Much too much salt for my palate. Other than that the flavor is pretty good... though it doesn't have that I-don't-know-what I experienced at the Indian restaurant that sense of "this isn't knocking my socks off but I really REALLY would enjoy another bite." Perhaps someone with more experience with Indian (or British?) cooking could identify what might be 'off' with this recipe or maybe there's nothing 'off' and it's just me... I don't know. I probably will give this recipe another try either eliminating or significantly reducing the salt. For me that'll be a step in the right direction. Read More
(15)
Rating: 4 stars
04/25/2015
Taste is good but not quite up to restaurant-standard tikka masala (if you want a closer approximation of a good restaurant-style tikka masala try the Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala recipe elsewhere on this site). I was mainly interested in this recipe because it's essentially paleo and whole30 compliant if you don't serve it over rice. It really is good but it's a really high-maintenance dish that essentially ties you to the stove for an hour. I'm wondering if I can get this to work in a slow-cooker... Possible I'll revisit this and bump it up to a full five stars if it really is significantly better the next day (I'm kinda thinking it will be). Lot of work to put this together though... Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
03/22/2015
The recipe is delicious! I made it exactly as written. It s going to be added to my regular rotation. It takes a bit of time but the end product is worth it! As a note the spices are a little bit milder than what you would get in a restaurant. I think that the flavors are good as a stand alone dish without trying to compare it to what I could get in a restaurant. If you are looking for more of the restaurant-style punch of flavor you might want to adjust the spices accordingly. Read More
(8)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/25/2015
Loved it. Will make again. I found it easiest to gather and put together all my ingredients before the cooking process. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
01/11/2015
This is a great recipe! Chef John is the best. I never made Indian food before so I was a little nervous but this is a keeper. I made my own garam masala spices since I couldn't find any and will have it for the next time I need it. The only change I made was that I used Greek vanilla yogurt in place of coconut milk. I didn't want to pay 4 for a small can of it. The yogurt gave it a great consistency and that sweet taste that is needed. Lovely! Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
01/17/2015
So good. I have ate it for 3 meals in a row now. Read More
(7)