Sonia’s Kitchen: Chicken Tikka Masala

Sonia Bhattacharyya

Sonia Bhattacharyya, News Writing Editor

One of my favorite Indian recipes is my grandmother’s Chicken Tikka Masala! It tastes amazing with basmati rice or naan, and the ginger and spices infuse the chicken with flavor. This recipe is super delicious and fun to cook on the weekends when you have a serious craving for Indian food.

Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 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
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
  • Steamed basmati rice or naan (for serving)


  1. Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill four to six hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
  2. Coat a large pot with vegetable oil. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about five minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about four minutes.
  3. Add canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often until sauce thickens for eight to ten minutes.
  4. Add cream and chicken. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, for approximately 30 – 40 minutes.
  5. Add cilantro. Simmer for eight to ten more minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs, or naan.

Recipe adapted from my great-grandmother and