The Taj Mahal Restaurant in Prescott, Arizona (of all places!) has some of the best Indian food. We love driving up there and eating their warm, comforting food, sipping on chai tea, while watching the snow fall outside. Upon returning from our first meal there, Brent implored our good friend Sunny for a decent Tikka Masala recipe. Having grown up in India, Sunny did what any good Indian would do – he called his mom up for the recipe. We added the grilled element to the chicken which reminded us of the great grilled meats at the Taj. Keeping in the spirit of our good friend Sunny – this dish can (and should) always get hotter. Just bump up the spices and peppers!

Tikka Masala

Marinade for chicken:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds (4 large breasts) boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded out slightly to achieve an even thickness

Mix all the above marinade ingredients together. Place a large, heavy duty zip top bag in a bowl, place chicken in the bag and pour in the marinade. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Marinate 1 to 4 hours in refrigerator.

Preheat grill to high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Grill chicken breasts for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until slightly undercooked. The meat should be slightly pink in the middle with the internal temperature being less than 165 degrees F (150 – 155 degrees F). The chicken will undergo a second cooking process and should not be consumed yet. Cube the chicken and set aside to make the sauce.

Tikka Masala Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped, removing seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, for garnish

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and jalapeño, cook for a minute or two being careful not to burn. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala, and salt and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cream and agian bring to a slight boil then reduce heat to simmer to let the sauce thicken, about 5 minutes.

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Add grilled and cubed chicken (slightly undercooked) to sauce and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Chicken should be completely cooked through by this point reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Serve with steamed basmati rice and garnish with 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro.

Approximately 5 hours, Serves 4 to 6