In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

The Ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala.

Two clarifications to make before we get to the recipe. 1. There’s ABSOLUTELY nothing “Caribbean” about this recipe. However I was challenged to share this Chicken Tikka Masala reccipe via Instagram and I also believe it would be something which would fit naturally within our diverse culinary landscape. And 2. …don’t spend too much time analyzing the bold title – I do stand behind the recipe 100% though (smile).

You’ll Need…


3-4 lbs chicken (boneless chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tablespoon veg oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3/4 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cardamon (about 5 pods)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or powder)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee)
1 large onion (diced)
2 medium tomatoes (diced finely – almost like a thick paste)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped finely)

It’s time to season and marinate the chicken pieces. First off I placed the coriander seeds, cumin and cardamon pods in my spice grinder and created a powder. Feel free to use powdered coriander, cumin and cardamon if you don’t have a spice grinder. A stone mortar and pestle will work as well.

Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the salt, black pepper, yogurt, coriander, cumin, cardamon, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, ginger and garlic. Then mix in the veg oil and marinate for 2 hours in the fridge.

It’s time to get started cooking. I’d recommend taking the marinated chicken out of the fridge about 15 minutes before we start here, as to get it up to room temperature. Add the clarified butter to a deep/wide pan over medium heat. Then add the pieces of seasoned chicken and cook/brown for about 10-13 minutes (flip). You may need to do this in two batches.

Set the chicken aside to cool a bit. There should still be fat in the pot (if not add more clarified butter). Adjust the heat to low, then add the diced onion (if you want to add more garlic and ginger here, you may). Add the tomato paste and diced tomato after 2 minutes.

Cook on the low heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the coconut milk. In most recipes you’ll see people use cream, but being from the Caribbean… you knew I’d rock the coconut milk. I almost forgot (IMPORTANT) add the coconut milk to the bowl you marinated the chicken in and swish it around to pick up any remaining spices etc. Then add to the pot. Raise the heat to bring to a gentle boil.

The chicken should be cool enough to handle now, cut into serving size pieces and get ready to add to the pot once it comes to a boil.

Stir well after adding the chicken to the pot, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5-8 minutes. Basically until all the flavors and textures combines nicely and you get a consistency to the gravy you’re happy with. Due to the slight acidity from the tomatoes, I like adding a bit of honey (or brown sugar) at this point.

Taste for salt and adjust to your own liking, then top with the chopped cilantro. Do remember that the gravy will thicken more with the residual heat from the pot.

My take on the classic Chicken Tikka Masala. Succulent pieces of chicken, in a rich gravy.. just screaming for some hot roti! If you can, please support. And should you have questions about this recipe or anything food related, be sure to Ask Chris.

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