2lbsboneless skinless chicken thighs (preferred) or breasts, chopped into pieces
1teaspoongrated fresh ginger
1 1/2teaspoonsgaram masala
For the Tikka Masala Sauce:
1bay leaf(Indian bay leaf if you have one)
2whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
1inchfresh ginger, grated
1Bird's eye chili , or a small piece of jalapeñochopped, (optional for spicy)
114 ounce candiced tomatoes, or 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
¼teaspooncayenne pepper, or more, for extra spicy
1cupcoconut milk, or heavy cream
½cupfresh chopped cilantro
Hot cooked Basmati rice
Naan, chapati, or rotis
Make Marinade: In a mixing bowl combine yogurt, oil, garlic, ginger, lime, cayenne pepper, garam masala, smoked paprika, and salt. Add chopped chicken pieces and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 1 day, stored in the fridge).
Cook Chicken: Heat 1 or 2 Tablespoons oil in a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook chicken pieces in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add additional oil, as needed, for multiple batches. Set aside and keep warm while making the sauce.
Make Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot add the peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon stick and saute for 20 seconds, careful not to let them burn. Add chopped onions, green chilies or jalapeno, ginger, and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices and mix well. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Blend until smooth: Discard bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves. Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth. Stir in coconut milk or cream.
Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Serve over hot cooked basmati rice, with a side of naan.
Slow Cooker: here’s my simplified slow cooker chicken tikka that still tastes great with less prep time involved.Instant Pot: Turn IP to sauté setting. Cook the chicken in oil first, just until browned on both sides, then remove to a plate. Sauté the spices and tomatoes as directed. Turn IP off. Return chicken to the pot. Secure lid and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, with a 10 minutes natural release. Discard bay leaves, cinnamon stick and clove and remove chicken to a plate. Use an immersion blender to blend sauce. Stir in coconut milk.Kashmiri chilies are authentic in Masala gravy. If you can find them, add 1 or 2 whole dried chiles to sauté with the spices. Also substitute 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder instead of cayenne pepper, in the sauce.Lamb Tikka Masala: replace chicken with cubed pieces of lamb shoulder. Marinate and sear the lamb as you would have the chicken, then simmer it in the prepared masala sauce, covered, for 60-90 minutes or until tender. Make Ahead Instructions: The chicken and marinade can be prepared up to one day ahead of time. The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, stored in the fridge. Cook the chicken and warm the sauce the day of serving.Freezing Instructions: Freeze Chicken Tikka Masala for up to 3 months, stored in a freezer safe container. Thaw overnight in the fridge and rewarm on the stove.