Chicken Tikka Masala – God Save the Curry

I probably get more requests for Indian food than any other ethnic cuisine, so I was very excited to be posting this chicken tikka masala; until I found out it’s actually a British recipe. It was the same feeling I had when I found out that pizza wasn’t invented in New York. 

So technically, I still owe you an authentic Indian recipe, but in the meantime I think this will do nicely. While this is a stripped-down version, where we’ve cut out several time-consuming steps, it was still incredibly delicious, and very Indian curry-like. 

As I mention in the video, this is usually done with heavy cream, but I like to use coconut milk instead. It’s probably a little better for you, but above and beyond that, the subtle sweetness it provides works beautifully with the spices in the dish.

By the way, you can substitute chicken breast here, but since we’re not doing the traditional yogurt marinade first, I believe thighs work much better in this version. Usually chicken breasts are marinated in yogurt first, and then cooked in a tandoor oven, before being added to the sauce. It is a great way to do it, but even without that step, I thought this was excellent. So, I hope you give this American version of a British version of an Indian curry a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions of Chicken Tikka Masala:
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 or 3 tablespoons clarified butter
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 rounded tbsp finely grated peeled ginger
1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1 can (13.5-oz) coconut milk, or about 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth, or as needed (use to adjust sauce consistency to you liking)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
salt to taste
4 cups steamed rice