Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is always a hit- even with people who think they don’t like Indian food.  Luckily, everyone in my house loves it!  This recipe is really simple and just requires some prep the night before or right when you get home from work.  I love to pair it with some sautéed broccoli and cilantro rice.

Adding Indian dishes into your recipe box introduces a whole new flavor palate.  As an American, I grew up eating a lot of American and Italian-style dishes, such as pasta, lasagna, chicken parm and other chicken dishes, burgers, BBQ, etc.  My parents and their parents before them didn’t have the exposure to cultures where they grew up as we do now (or at least do on the internet).  This dish is a really great way to introduce this cuisine to someone who hasn’t had Indian food before as it’s not too spicy, but will definitely introduce them to whole new flavors!

This recipe was inspired by “Paleo Takeout: Restaurant flavors without the junk” by Russ Crandall.

Chicken Tikka Masala


  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup plan greek yogurt
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks (optional to cut into large chunks.  I suggest skipping this.)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving


  • Combine the spice blend ingredients (top section) and divide in half.  Combine with the garlic, ginger and yogurt in a sealed plastic bag with your chicken.  Mix well.  Let it marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour and up to overnight.
  • Heat the ghee in a skillet and add your onions.  Sauté until soft, then add garlic and continue sautéing until you can smell that wonderful garlic aroma.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the coconut milk.  Stir to combine and let simmer for at least 40 minutes.  You want that deep, rich red color- then you’ll know it’s done.
  • While the sauce is cooking, prepare the chicken.  If you chopped it up, you want to skewer them.  If you didn’t, throw them right on the grill and cook about 3 minutes per side.  You can also broil the chicken in the oven for 6-8 minutes per side, but I really suggest grilling.  You don’t want to do this step too early because you want your sauce and chicken to be done around the same time.
  • Once the sauce is done, pour into a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer back to the skillet and add the coconut milk.  Allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes and add water, if needed.  You want it to be the consistency of tomato soup.  Taste and salt as desired.
  • You can add the chicken back into the sauce at this point, but I prefer to add it on top of my chicken.  Pair with your favorite sides and enjoy!!

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