Stovetop Chicken Tikka Masala

25 Jul

I was really hesitant to make any references to “official” Indian cuisine in the title of this dish as I am no expert in the nuances of Indian cooking.  That said, I love Chicken Tikka Masala – an Indian dish with chunks of chicken, tomato sauce, and enough spices to fill the room.  So, I  stripped down the technique, making a Stovetop Chicken Tikka Masala  simple enough for a weekday meal and delicious enough to serve any time!

{Gina’s Take}

Given the vast number of spices,  having all of the spices prepped in a small bowl so I could add them all in one fell swoop was key to preventing me from fumbling around with teaspoons while the pan was hot.

Speaking of spices, cardamom is a bit of an elusive and expensive spice. If you don’t use it often, they sell small packages like these in the ‘compact’ size for around $2-$3.  I happened to be next to a Bristol Farms and found it there, but there is always Amazon too.  I’ve also substituted cinnamon for the cardamom in this recipe, but the opinion of the house was that the cardamom version won the taste test prize.

For the Greek yogurt, the small individual sizes at the market are plenty for the marinade.  Also tomato puree was a new ingredient for me, but I was able to find it easily in the canned tomato section at the supermarket.

Another element you could play with would be the dish count – I found that cooking the chicken and sauce at the same time in seperate pans worked well because it took about 10 minutes to brown the chicken while the sauce was simmering.  But, if you find yourself with a major allergic reaction to washing pans of any sort, you could cook the chicken first, set it aside, then cook the sauce in the same pan, and finally add the chicken back in towards the end of prep as the recipe calls for.  Then you’d have one-pot chicken tikka masala instead {smile}.At the end of the prep, you’ll add some of my favorite ingredients:  The goldens will re-hydrate, adding an sweet bite to the dish, the almond slivers provide a nice crunch, and the cilantro, in addition to flavor, gives the sauce some much needed color flare.

This dish is an absolute hit at our house!

Oh – and don’t forget to serve with either naan {Naan recipe here} or some rice.   You’ll be glad you did!

The recipe below makes enough for 4  and can easily be doubled to accommodate some extra guests or leftovers!


{Pretty Little Tip}

Want to add another layer of spice complexity?  Play with different paprikas – there are hot, smokey, and sweet varieties that may suit your palate!  Want more chicken tikka masala tips?  Check out this article on epicurious, which inspired the recipe.

And as always, a special thanks to AC Ceramics for letting me steal this week’s props – carved, dipped, and fancy bowls.  You can find them on her website or etsy shop!


Stovetop Chicken Tikka Masala


    Chicken Prep:
  • 1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon peanut oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (2 cloves) garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Sauce Prep:
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups canned tomato purée
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional: extra for garnish)
  • Serve with suggestions:
  • Naan (recipe here), cooked Basmati or Jasmine Rice


    Chicken Prep:
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 Tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Then, stir in chicken, coating evenly, and set aside to marinate while preparing the sauce.
  2. Sauce Prep:
  3. In a small bowl, combine all of the spices: coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, cardamom, cayenne, nutmeg, pepper, and ginger. Set aside.
  4. In a deep skillet or sauce pan, melt butter over medium high heat, then add onions. Allow onions to brown.
  5. Next, reduce to medium heat and add in the bowl of spices, tomato puree, water, and half and half. Stir occasionally and allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Cooking the Chicken:
  7. While the sauce is simmering, in a separate skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of peanut oil, add the bowl of marinated chicken, and cook the chicken over medium high heat, cooking thoroughly.
  8. Combining the Sauce and Chicken:
  9. Once the chicken is cooked, drain/transfer with a slotted spoon, adding the chicken, almonds, and goldens in to the pot with the sauce. Allow to simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  10. Finally, stir in the cilantro and serve.

One Response to “Stovetop Chicken Tikka Masala”

  1. Virginia October 22, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    I enjoyed making this the other week! I am always looking for Indian recipes and this one was very easy to make.

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