Chicken tikka masala is arguably the single most popular Indian restaurant dish in the world. Turns out, it’s not an authentic Indian dish—it was invented in a London curry house.
Without historical roots, there is no definitive recipe. The variations we found had mushy or dry chicken and sauces that were unbearably rich and/or overspiced. We wanted an approachable method for producing moist, tender chunks of chicken in a rich, lightly spiced tomato sauce.
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
Start to finish: 30 minutes
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Combine oil and onion in Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garam masala, ginger, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until flavours meld, about 15 minutes. Stir in cream, cover, and keep warm.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line broiler-pan bottom with aluminum foil and lay slotted broiler pan on top. Combine yogurt, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in medium bowl. Pound thicker ends of breasts as needed, then pat dry with paper towels.
Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on prepared broiler-pan top. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until lightly charred in spots and chicken registers 160 F, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.
Transfer chicken to cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Stir chicken into warm sauce and let heat through, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt to taste. Serve.