• Gary Corcoran

Chicken Tikka Masala

In Indian restaurants, chicken is normally baked in a tandoori oven. I don’t have one, so I cook mine over direct heat on the BBQ. This recipe has two steps: making the chicken tikka by marinating and partially cooking the chicken and then finishing it in the masala, a tomato cream sauce. I suggest using chicken breasts here as my wife is fond of them. Me, not so much. I prefer chicken thighs. However, this is one recipe where I don’t mind the breast meat because the marinade helps keep it moist. (You can find this recipe on page 196 of my new cookbook.)

Chicken tikka on its way to becoming chicken tikka masala, courtesy of my son Christopher.

Chicken Tikka


2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs

1 cup plain yogurt

4 T olive oil

5 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed

4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 T fresh ginger, grated

1 t turmeric

2 T garam masala

1 T ground coriander

1 T Kashmiri chili powder or paprika

1 t fresh ground black pepper

1 t fine sea salt

Cut each chicken breast into 5 - 6 pieces. If using chicken thighs, leave them whole. Set aside. Mix remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces. Cover with the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or at least an hour or two.

Preheat BBQ to highest setting. Stir the marinade and grill the chicken pieces 3 - 4 minutes per side to get nice grill marks on them. Normally the chicken is skewered before cooking it. I don’t bother. After cooking, set aside. Chicken is not fully cooked at this stage. You will finish it later in the masala sauce.



4 T ghee or vegetable oil

2 small onions peeled, cut in half top to bottom, finely sliced

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 T grated fresh ginger

1 T garam masala

1 T ground coriander

1 t ground cardamom

½ t cayenne powder (optional)

1 t fine sea salt

1 cup tomato sauce

1½ cups heavy cream (35%)

2 sweet bell peppers, cut into 2-in. sq. pieces

Heat ghee or oil in a Dutch oven. Add sliced onion and cook 5 - 6 minutes until soft. Add garlic and ginger, stir and cook for another minute. Add dry spices and cook for another minute or so stirring constantly. Stir in salt, tomato sauce and heavy cream.

Let simmer for a few minutes. Add chicken and bell peppers and let simmer for 12 - 15 minutes covered. Serve with basmati rice and naan.

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