Chicken Tikka Masala


  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ cups natural yoghurt (not Greek)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol or 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
  • Steamed basmati rice (for serving)t


  • Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yoghurt, salt, and half of the spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.

  • Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until the bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

  • Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of the pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.

  • Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on the rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.

  • Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs.

  • Do Ahead: Chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving.

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