This tomato-based chicken tikka masala recipe is incredible. The toasted almonds rounds out the sauce perfectly!

If you’ve been around this site looking for Indian cuisine, you’ll know that I have posted and raved before about a tikka masala recipe. But in the name of branching out and changing things up, I tried a new version that my cousin Merianne sent me from her friend Stacy.

When someone who has impeccable taste buds and food judgment raves about a recipe, like my cousin, I know I’ll be trying it, no matter if I’ve tried 15 versions in the past.

White rice with chicken and orange tikka sauce on top on a white plate.

This masala recipe is incredible. Different from the first recipe I posted, this version has a more tomato-based sauce and employs a really unique ingredient to thicken and round out the sauce – toasted ground almonds.

The end result doesn’t scream “ALMONDS are in here!!” but it does make you sit back and kind of go, “hmmm…what is that??”

Both recipes marinate the chicken in a deliciously spiced yogurt mixture that adds flavor and tenderness and include fresh cilantro as a must-have for freshness and pop.

I’m not an expert on Indian food so I can’t vouch for which recipe is the most authentic but I’ll tell you this, there were no leftovers from this meal…and trust me, I made plenty to go around.

We just absolutely could not stop eating it. Which is probably more a testament to our lack of self-control than anything. Either way, take it as a testimonial that this stuff is goooood.

What To Serve With This:

Baked Brown Rice
Steamed peas or broccoli, or this Curried Cauliflower Popcorn
Fresh fruit

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Chicken Tikka Masala

4.50 stars (6 ratings)



  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 2 ½ pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs, fat trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup blanched whole almonds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (35-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • MAKE THE MASALA MARINADE: In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Cut chicken in 1 inch cubes. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight. 
  • In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground. 
  • In a large pot or deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the tomato mixture. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Garnish with cilantro.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 722kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 45g, Fat: 53g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 198mg, Sodium: 858mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 11g

Recipe Source: from Stacy D. via Merianne J.