This post is sponsored by Pomì.
Chicken tikka masala is a favorite at Indian restaurants, but it’s even more delicious when made at home! Try it with my paleo flatbread.
Who else is a huge fan of Indian food? I think if I had to pick just one cuisine as my very favorite, Indian would be it. I just can’t pass up all the layers of spice and flavor! And while it’s great to go out and enjoy dinner at an Indian restaurant, it’s even more fun (and even tastier) to make it yourself at home. Plus, your house will smell amazing!
I’ve wanted to make chicken tikka masala for a while now, but was a bit intimidated by all the steps. Chicken tikka is chicken that’s marinated in spiced yogurt and then broiled or grilled, and masala means sauce, so chicken tikka masala needs to be marinated, broiled, AND simmered in sauce. Those three steps are key to building all the layers of flavors that make Indian food so special, though. Once you get going, all the steps can be accomplished pretty quickly, with just about an hour of hands-on time.
The marinade comes together quickly: it’s yogurt mixed with garlic, ginger, and spices. This stuff alone smells so good! After marinating, the chicken is quickly broiled or grilled to get some of that nice browned taste. The masala sauce gets its flavor from Pomì organic Italian tomatoes simmered with heavy cream. Pomì’s tomatoes are my favorite to cook with because they go from field to package in a short amount of time to preserve that fresh tomato taste. I also love that they’re organic, and that Pomì is committed to sustainable farming and packaging practices. If you’re interested in other recipes I’ve created in partnership with Pomì, check out my Instant Pot (or slow cooker) ropa vieja and Instant Pot short rib ragu. You can also get a coupon for $1 off Pomì tomatoes right here.
I like to serve this with rice or cauliflower rice and my paleo flatbread, but it’s also great on its own with just a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. This chicken tikka masala is also a wonderful dish to make ahead and reheat, because the flavors will only deepen with a day or two to meld in the fridge.
I hope you give this classic dish a try! If you’re looking for more homemade versions of Indian favorites, check out my saag paneer and Indochinese chili chicken. I also highly recommend making your own ghee!
- 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons grated or finely minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika (not smoked or hot)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or add more if you like things spicy)
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), cut into large bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons ghee, butter, or avocado oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (750-gram) box Pomì chopped tomatoes
- 1½ cups heavy cream, divided
- Sea salt, to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Paleo flatbread or naan
- Rice or cauliflower rice
- ***NOTE: Prep and cook times listed are hands-on time and do not include time for the chicken to marinate.***
- To make the chicken tikka, mix the garlic, ginger, cilantro, coriander, salt, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and yogurt in a large bowel. Add the chopped chicken and stir to coat the chicken with the yogurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or preferably 4-6 hours. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 45 minutes before you plan to start cooking. If you'll be using wooden skewers, soak those in warm water so they won't catch fire later.
- To make the masala, heat the ghee or butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes or until browned in spots. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, until darkened in color. Stir in the tomatoes and 1¼ cups of heavy cream (reserving the remainder to add right before serving), and season with salt. Adjust the heat so that the sauce simmers while you prepare the chicken tikka.
- Preheat the broiler and place a rack a few inches from the heating element, or preheat a gas grill to high. Thread the marinated chicken onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. Scrape any excess marinade from the bowl into the simmering sauce and stir.
- To broil the chicken tikka, arrange the skewers on a baking sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes, checking frequently, until nicely browned in spots. If using a grill, place the skewers on the preheated grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side until nicely browned. The chicken may not be fully cooked at this point.
- Carefully remove the browned chicken from the skewers, add it to the simmering sauce, and stir. Let it simmer away for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened a bit. Stir in the remaining cream. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Serve hot topped with fresh cilantro, alongside rice or cauliflower rice and naan if desired.
- Chicken tikka masala can be made up to two days ahead and reheated over medium heat on the stove.
This post is sponsored by Pomì. Thank you so much for supporting the sponsors that help keep A Calculated Whisk up and running!