Chicken Tikka Masala (Indian Buttered Chicken)

The word "tikka" refers to chunks or cutlets. In this recipe, chicken fillets are marinated in a spicy yogurt mixture, then grilled and simmered in a flavorful sauce. Serve with flatbread for mopping up the sauce and wiping the plate clean!

Serves 4 to 6  
Prep Time 30 minutes, plus marinating time  
Cooking Time 35 minutes


1 kilo chicken thigh fillet
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

For the marinade
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2- to 3-inch) piece ginger, grated
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 cup yogurt
1 pinch red-orange powder (optional)
1 tablespoon tahini (optional)

For the sauce
2 tablespoons oil
2 to 3 onions, diced
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 finger chilies, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1/4 cup cilantro roots and stalks, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce or 1 (450-gram) can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 cup yogurt
1/2 stick unsalted butter
salt and pepper
lemon wedges and cilantro leaves for garnish


1  Rinse chicken fillets, drain and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

2  Prepare the marinade by mixing the ingredients together into a paste.

3  Pour marinade over the chicken fillets and mix well. Chill and let sit for at least 30 minutes or, for best results, overnight.

4  Grill chicken until done.

5  Heat oil in a medium wok over medium heat. Sauté onions until translucent. Add ginger and garlic until fragrant and golden brown.

6  Add chilies, turmeric, and cilantro roots and stalks. Stir-fry for a minute. Add tomato sauce and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. 

7  Add fenugreek and sugar; mix well. Stir in grilled chicken and simmer for a few minutes. Add yogurt and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Garnish with lemon and cilantro. Serve immediately with flatbread or rice.

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