Chicken Tikka Masala

When the occasion for delivery comes along, the majority of the time, we go for Indian food. While not necessarily spicy, the number of spices that go into Indian dishes make for delicious and interesting flavor combinations. I always like to try new dishes, from lamb curry to chicken jalfrezi to rajasthani hara maas. But Nick always gets chicken tikka masala. It’s not that he doesn’t like anything else on the menu (he always steals a bite or two of mine), it’s just that he really loves this dish. So I guess it’s about time that I learned how to make it myself!

Chicken tikka masala is a chicken dish in a tomato and cream based sauce. This lighter version is brightened up by the addition of a red bell pepper and Greek yogurt. This recipe yields a generous amount of sauce, so be sure to pick up some naan bread for scooping it all up! We also made some basmati rice with a bit of turmeric and mustard seeds to go along side.

Up until recently, it was really hard for me to find garam masala at my supermarket. So if you can’t find it and there are no Indian grocers near you, I recommend using this recipe to make your own that I got from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking. Simply place the spices below in a coffee grinder, then store in an airtight container. Oh, and make sure to clean out that grinder really well before you use it for coffee again, or else you may be in for a strong and strange cup of Joe!

  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds (or regular cumin seeds if you can’t find black)
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick, broken up into 3 or 4 pieces


Chicken Tikka Masala

Servings: 6
PointsPlus Value: 7

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 8 oz fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp water, divided
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Place the chicken in a bowl and add the yogurt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic and ginger. Stir until it is well combined, cover and marinate in the fridge for 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in the shallots and pepper, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, just until they start to brown. Transfer to a blender along with 2 tablespoons of water and puree until smooth.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet. Stir in the garam masala and stir it around a few times until it is fragrant. Add the shallot and red pepper puree and the tomato paste, stir until it is well mixed before tossing in the chicken. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add salt to taste and splash in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water if the sauce is too thick.

Serve alongside rice and naan bread and top with freshly chopped cilantro.


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