Chicken Tikka Masala & Spicy Mint Chutney

Chicken Tikka Masala is probably the most popular dish on the menu at most Indian restaurants. Although the recipe requires a lot of ingredients, it is actually very simple to make. Before I started putting together my Indian feast,  I wondered how my version of Chicken Tikka Masala would stand up to my favorite Indian spot. As it turns out, although they are not quite the same it was definitely just as good and the spicy mint chutney really brightened the dish.

Prep time: 4 hours 20 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Serves: 6-8

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
2.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1teaspoon cardamom
1 serrano chili
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
Steamed basmati rice (for serving)

Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.  Use half of the spice mixture and blend in a food processor with yogurt, lime juice, Serrano chili, salt and cilantro.  Pour over chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours.  Add the 1 teaspoon of cardamom to the remaining spice mixture. Cover and chill.

Heat ghee (or oil and butter) in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion and tomato paste.  Cook, stirring often until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often while scraping up browned bits from the pot. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes.

Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and gets a little darker, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Shake some of the excess marinade from the chicken and place on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; add to sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Serve with steamed rice and mint chutney.

Mint Chutney

  • 2 cups fresh mint, stems removed
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 inch piece of pealed fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  You will need to scrape the sides down and blend several times to get it well pureed. Store chutney in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three hours to let the flavors come together. Stir before serving.