This is one of the most popular Indian dishes and the kind of chicken tikka masala. This is a quicker and simpler version from a busy mom to some Indian food lovers and I have a feeling that you are going to like it!

Ingredients

For the chicken tikka

  • oil, for coating the grill (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Kashmiri red pepper powder or cayenne*
  • 3/4 Teaspoon ginger paste**
  • 3/4 Teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 Teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed

For the sauce

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder (optional)
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • naan, roti, or steamed rice, for serving

Preparation

For the chicken tikka: Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or, if using a grill, preheat the grill over medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

Step 2

In a bowl, combine the yogurt and lemon juice and mix well. Add the cayenne, ginger and garlic pastes, coriander, garam masala, and red food coloring, if using.

Step 3

Season with salt, to taste, and mix well to combine. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade. Mix everything well. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Step 4

Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers. (If grilling with wooden skewers, soak them in water before use.)

Step 5

Transfer the chicken to a baking dish or baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Reserve any pan drippings for the sauce. (If using a grill, cook the chicken until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.) Remove from heat and set aside.

For the sauce: Step 1

Add the oil and garlic and ginger pastes to a heavy-bottomed pan and place over medium heat. Let the paste slowly cook as the oil heats up. When the oil is hot, add the coriander, ground fennel seed, black pepper, garam masala, and onion powder, if using, and stir.

Step 2

Add the tomato purée and mix well to combine. Simmer until the sauce starts reducing and the excess water evaporates, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Season with salt, to taste.

Step 3

Add the cooked chicken pieces along with the drippings (if cooked in an oven) and cream. Mix well to combine and simmer for 5-7 more minutes. Season with salt, to taste.

Step 4

Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve with naan, roti, or rice.

Note*

This is a red pepper which is not very hot but gives a beautiful color. But, you can also use cayenne if you can't find it.

Note**

For the garlic and ginger pastes, peel and then pound in a mortar to a paste. Or, if you don't have a mortar and pestle, mince the garlic and ginger and then flatten with the side of your knife into a paste. If you don't feel like making your own, you can use store-bought.