Where has this Quick Chicken Tikka Masala been all my life?? Who knew you could get a legit Tikka Masala made in 30 minutes? Yes, start to finish in 30 minutes! This is a restaurant quality meal and here it’s made lighter (no heavy cream in this version, although I won’t judge if you want to add a little – I live for cream. But since I usually have it in my dessert more often than not because I’m addicted to ice cream, I didn’t add any. Gotta cut back where I can). I know I say this a lot on this blog but this dish is totally worthy of being added to your dinner rotation. It’s hearty, it’s packed to the max with flavor (one of the main reasons I love tikka masala and Indian food so much – all those spices!), and it’s made with healthy ingredients.
I made my own Garam Masala spice blend for this, which I would recommend (even though it will add a few extra minutes the first time, it should give you enough for 4 batches of this). I recommend making your own blend because with store-bought versions there are so many different spice combinations and ratios out there for this specific blend. And yes, the cardamom is expensive but you’ll get a lot of meals out of one jar of it (or you can also use it to make chai spice cookies, smoothies, etc. Or make more Indian food because it’s amazing!). Another thing to note is that I’ve already made this twice in the last 2 weeks (and plan on making it again this week), the canned crushed tomatoes thickness varies pretty widely based on the brand you buy. For example I used S & W the first time (that pictured here) and I ended with a nice, rich and thick sauce (I even had to add a little water). The second time I used Contadina (another brand I like) and I ended with a thin sauce. I prefer the thicker version but I guess just go with what you like. Try it soon though, this is Tikka Masala is all of my weeknight dinner dreams come true! It’s incredibly delicious!
- 1 1/2-inch knob ginger, peeled
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 large yellow onion, peeled
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala spice blend, divided (see notes)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp ground paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used fat-free, any kind will work fine though)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Cooked jasmine or basmati rice, for serving
- Pulse ginger and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add onion and pulse until finely chopped. Toss chicken with 1 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp salt. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, rotating halfway through cooking, until cooked through, about 6 - 7 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion mixture and saute until onions have softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, remaining 1 Tbsp garam masala, the paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes, season with salt to taste, and cook stirring occasionally until mixture is hot, about 2 minutes (you can let it simmer longer if needed if the canned tomatoes used were watery. If the canned tomatoes were thick you can add a few Tbsp of water if needed to thin the sauce mixture). Return chicken to pan and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, stir in Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Serve warm over rice topped with cilantro.
- Recipe source: loosely based off of this recipe on Epicurious
For a homemade garam masala spice blend (which I recommend using) whisk together: 2 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp ground coriander, 1 1/2 Tbsp ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp ground cardamom, 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg. If using a store-bought garam masala spice blend, look for one that has the same spices in the ingredients label to those listed here (I think the McCormick one does, it doesn't have to have nutmeg) otherwise you could get an entirely different outcome. The blend listed here will make enough to make this recipe 4 times so it's quicker the next few times you make it.