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Tikka Masala with Garam Masala

Recipe by Chef Abraham Risho

“Tikka Masala is originally based from the Indian tandoori chicken, meaning chicken that is marinated in yogurt and fried in a very hot India oven. The yogurt is key to breaking down the collagen in the chicken, and will be the most tender chicken you will ever eat! As the story goes…. In the late 1800’s, a British officer in India requested chicken for dinner. The Indian chef made traditional tandoori chicken, but the officer sent it back asking for gravy with his chicken. The chef went straight to the pantry and pulled a can of Campbell’s tomato soup! He dumped the soup in with some Indian curry spices, threw the tandoori chicken in there… and voila, we have Tikka Masala! Today, however, we are using fresh ground tomatoes and cream, while simulating the style of slow cooking the ginger, garlic, onions in ghee or clarified butter. This recipe goes out to a buddy of mine who has been asking for a Tikka Masala recipe for the last 10 years. So….Ian: Happy Birthday & Merry Christmas together! Let’s have some Tikka Masala!”


  • ½t ginger paste

  • ½t garlic paste

  • 1T lemon juice

  • 1T canola oil

  • ½C yogurt

  • 1t Garam Masala

  • ½t chili powder

  • 2lbs chicken, cubed


  • 1T canola oil (or ghee)

  • 1t red chili powder

  • ½t turmeric

  • 1t Garam Masala

  • 2C onion paste

  • 1t ginger paste

  • 1t garlic paste

  • 1t green chili paste

  • 12oz ground tomatoes

  • 3T cream

  • 2T coriander, fresh


  1. For each type of paste needed, rough chop the vegetable

  2. For each cup of rough chopped ingredient, combine with 1T salt

  3. Mash ingredient with salt in mortar and pestle (or blend in blender with several drops of water)

  4. Use immediately or store covered in fridge, capped with a little oil, up to one week


  1. Combine all marinade ingredients, let rest for 1 hour, or overnight in refrigerator


  1. Bring a heavy bottom sauce pan to medium-high.

  2. Add oil, chili powder, Garam Masala & turmeric.

  3. Stir & cook for about 10 seconds.

  4. Add onion paste, stirring occasionally until onions begin to caramelize, 10 minutes.

  5. Add ginger, garlic & green chili paste, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.

  6. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to simmer, cook for 20 minutes.


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.

  2. Put cast iron skillet in oven for about 5 minutes until hot.

  3. Add chicken to skillet (no oil), careful not to overcrowd the pan.

  4. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes until chicken is mostly cooked.

  5. Add cream to sauce, then bring to simmer.

  6. Add chicken and drippings to sauce, simmer 5 minutes.

  7. Repeat chicken cooking process if all chicken didn’t fit in pan.

  8. Tear coriander leaves from stems, stir leaves into sauce. Serve over rice.

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