No. 259: Ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala + Martha's Cooking Conversions

Look what I found!! Only the best handy-dandy cooking conversion charts from Martha Stewart.

Baking equivalents

I love that bundt pan conversion.

Measuring equivalents

And who doesn't want to know what temp their candy thermometer should read? That is, if they have one ...

Candy chart

If only they were in magnet form. But that won't keep me from printing these off and plastering them on our fridge:)

Ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala

No candy thermometer needed for this recipe.


For the marinade
1 cup plain Greek or whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons cayenne
3 grinds of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
8 whole cloves
1 tablespoon ginger minced
2 cloves of garlic minced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 1.5 inch cubes

For the sauce
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large onion cut into thin half wheels
2 cloves of garlic finely minced
2 serrano chilies roasted, seeded, and diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon garam masala
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
One 28-ounce can San Marzano whole peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh cilantro for garnish

To make

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the chicken, cover, and refrigerate overnight (or do this step in the morning like I did and let it marinate all day).

Marinating chicken

Heat the oil in a large casserole. When the oil is hot, turn the stove to medium and add the onion. Brown the onions until they are caramelized. This takes about 20 minutes of constant stirring to bring rich flavor to your sauce.

Next, add the garlic and chilies, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Now add the cumin, paprika, and garam masala. Fry these spices with the onions for a minute to release their flavor. Add salt and pepper directly prior to adding tomatoes. This helps draw the flavor of the onions, spices, and tomatoes together.

Spiced onions and veggies

Next, add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. It is alright to add the juice contained within the tomatoes themselves, however, be very conservative with the remaining juice in the can. You may find you want to add a little for volume, and that's fine, however, if you add too much your sauce will be very watery.

After the tomatoes have cooked with the spices for a few minutes add the heavy cream, thoroughly mix, and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally.


While the sauce is simmering, take the chicken out of the refrigerator, and place on wooden skewers. You can grill the chicken outside on a charcoal grill or use a grill pan. Lightly coat the iron with oil, and once it is hot enough, cook the chicken skewers.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, take it off of the grill and put it to the side to cool for 8 to 10 minutes. This seals in the flavor and ensures the tenderness of the meat.

By now the sauce should have thickened nicely. Remove the chicken from the skewers and fold it into the sauce.

Chicken and sauce

Raise the heat slightly and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and serve over basmati rice. Garnish with some fresh cilantro.

The results

This recipe will take some time, you don't want to rush each step, but I promise it is very much worth it.

Final dish

The depth of flavor in this sauce is tremendous, but when you add the slightly charred and marinated chicken it takes everything over the top.

We skipped the rice in favor of a copule tortillas (a perfectly fine substitute for naan or pita:) for scooping the sauce into our greedy faces. You definitely want something bread-like to cut the spice.

For a leisurely cooking evening, this really is the ultimate!

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina