Stupid-Easy Recipe for Quick Chicken Tikka Masala (#1 Top-Rated)


In India, tikkas are simply small pieces of anything, and in this much-loved curry it’s chicken. Traditionally the chicken pieces marinate in spices for hours and are then grilled in a clay oven and added to a rich tomato-based sauce. But to make the process simpler and quicker, we skip the marinating, brown the seasoned chicken in a hot skillet, and simmer it in the masala mixture. For authentic color and flavor, plan ahead to have the Kashmiri chili and fenugreek leaves on hand. Or skip them; the dish will still taste great.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Quick Chicken Tikka Masala.

1. Info for Quick Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 371 kcal

2. Ingredients for Quick Chicken Tikka Masala

  • 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (preferably whole-milk)
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander (for chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil (for chicken)
  • 1 tsp. Kashmiri red chili powder (buy at Indian markets and online; or use three-quarters paprika and one-quarter cayenne)
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil (for masala)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander (for masala)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes (1 can)
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup water (or half-and-half)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi, optional; buy at Indian markets or online)
  • Steamed basmati rice (for serving)

3. Directions:

3.1 Prep

Scrape peel from the ginger with a spoon, then coarsely chop ginger. Grind ginger and garlic together into a smooth paste using a mini food processor, or finely grate ginger with a fine grater and mince garlic. (You’ll have enough for this recipe plus extra for another use.) Set 1 1/2 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste aside and refrigerate leftovers, covered, for up to 1 week.

Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoon reserved ginger-garlic paste, the yogurt, coriander, salt, turmeric, oil, and Kashmiri chili.

3.2 Stove

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add chicken mixture and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred (chicken may not be quite cooked through), about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the oil and reserved 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste. Cook, stirring, until slightly softened, 10-15 seconds.

Add the coriander and cumin to skillet and stir until sizzling, then stir in the tomatoes. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until tomatoes have softened and most of the liquid has cooked off, 5-8 minutes.

3.3 Prep

Transfer ingredients to a blender and add the cream. Blend into a smooth paste. Add the water and blend.

3.4 Stove

Return tomato mixture to skillet, add chicken, and stir well to combine. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through and flavors are blended, 3-5 minutes.

3.5 Serve

Remove chicken from heat. Sprinkle the fenugreek on top, if using. Let chicken stand, covered, 5-10 minutes before serving for flavors to blend. Serve with basmati rice.


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