Chicken Tikka Masala
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.
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
Chicken Tikka Masala
- 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.
Recipe Source: from Stacy D. via Merianne J.
27 Comments on “Chicken Tikka Masala”
Where do you find pure chile powder? Is it ancho chile powder? I used paprika because I couldn’t figure out what to use. Thank you, It was delicious.
I use Penzey’s chili powder (I buy it online).
Mel! You will never believe this, but all five of my children ate and loved this meal. I was fully prepared for a lot of complaints and whining because that’s what they often do when I do something more unique than usual. I don’t think I’ve made something they all like in months so this is BIG! I am shook Thank you for this delicious recipe.
Oops…I tried the other Tikka Masala. I’m sure this would be amazing too though but I loved the other one like crazy!
I made this last night for dinner a little skeptical that my kids would not like it. It was such a delicious dish!! They all loved it! The youngest (9) did think it was a little spicy but everyone else including my son’s girlfriend couldn’t get enough. I did use green peppers and half and half. Thanks for another uber delicious meal!!!
Lisa – I don’t know how the almond extract would work in place of the almonds. I don’t think it’s necessarily the almond flavor but more the binding quality of the ground almonds. I have another tikka masala recipe on my site that doesn’t use almonds and might be a better route: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2008/09/chicken-tikka-masala.html
Question: Would almond extract work instead of almonds? I have someone I cook for who has diverticulitis, and they can’t do nuts (but extract is fine). Even if they’re ground up in the food processor, I worry it might cause trouble.
Lindsay – yes, I think that could work!
Hmm.. I have a bag of almond meal from Trader Joe’s in my fridge.. since it’s just ground almonds, could I sub that in? Would you do 1/4 cup? maybe a little less?
Thanks for you help! 🙂
I’m allergic to almonds. How much would the recipe suffer if I omitted those, or else substituted cashews or another nut for the almonds?
I LOVE Indian food and will definitely be trying this ASAP with naan.
I’ve made your old recipe and loved it! So the question is do you prefer this over your earlier tikka masala recipe?
Melanie – that’s a tough question because they really are quite different. This newer tikka masala recipe has a stronger tomato base. I honestly don’t think I could pick…but if you really, really nailed me down, the old one may win by a slight margin…but it would be really slight!
made this tonight and it was fabulous! we don’t have any indian restaurants where i live, so this will now be what i make when i’m craving indian food. i also made mango lassies to serve with. they were awesome.
question? is there a reason why you don’t cut the chicken up first, and then add it to the yogurt marinade? it just seams like it would be that much more flavorful.
leslie – glad you liked this! I love a good mango lassi, too. What a great combo. As for your question, the answer is there isn’t any reason not to cut up the chicken and let it marinate in chunks. Either way should work!
So glad you tried it! I’m honored to have my name on your blog… 🙂
there are a lot of amazing spices in this recipe–dang! and the ground almond aspect is certainly interesting. i’m about as familiar with indian cuisine as i am with, say, being a cat, but i think i’d like this–excellent!
I love that marinade, Mel. So many fabulous flavors. This really looks delicious and doable!
This dish looks fabulous. I’ve made this dish before, and I think I ate it all in less than a week. Try adding fenugreek leaves or kasoori/kasuri methi next time. YUM!
Hi! Does anyone know if this recipe will freeze well? Thanks!
Stacey – I can’t weigh in on this since I haven’t frozen it. I’m guessing that actually it doesn’t freeze that great (due to the yogurt marinade and cream in the recipe) but someone else correct me if they’ve tried it.
Well I love your old recipe so I will have to give this one a try. And I think the almonds will be so yummy. Thanks!
So, the question is, which Chicken Tikka Masala is the best? I’ve been comparing the two recipes and they both look really good, although the one you posted today has ingredients that I don’t currently have on hand, such as coriander, cardamom, turmeric, garam masala. So, I’d probably prefer to make the other one, but I’m afraid I’ll be missing out on something spectacular!! What should I do?
Joyce – I definitely don’t think you would be missing out by trying the “old” recipe. In fact, I would say definitely try that one if it means you don’t have to buy some new/special ingredients. Both are delicious, I promise!
This looks fabulous!
LOL.. ok, this is odd.. I just made tikka masala the other night!! Mine was not a success at all..but still… we cooked the island chicken about the same time too! 🙂 Great minds think alike! Your tikka masala looks fantastic!
I have never had tikka masala (I know…shame on me!), but if you say it’s good, then I will try it! It looks incredible, and your recipes are always amazing, Mel! Thanks for sharing! 🙂