Chicken tikka masala—grilled boneless chicken in a spiced, creamy tomato sauce—is the quintessential Anglo-Indian comfort dish. For our version we reached out to Indian-American chef Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club, a modern Indian restaurant in Oakland, California (which closed in 2018, though “The Juhu Beach Club” cookbook remains a hot ticket and is a great addition to your collection). At Juhu Beach Club, chicken tikka masala was on the kids’ menu, a testament to how approachable and easy to love this dish is, two factors that also make it a great threshold recipe for Indian-cooking novices.
What to buy: For marinating the chicken, Preeti uses extra-tangy Greek yogurt from Straus Family Creamery. If using another brand, up the acidity by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to the yogurt in the marinade. See more of Mistry’s tips for the best chicken tikka masala.
You can use a commercial garam masala spice blend for this recipe, but Mistry strongly suggests making your own, using black cardamom pods (these are smoked over charcoal, so they have an earthy, smoky flavor—if using a garam masala blend, up the smoke and spice by adding 1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika and cayenne pepper). Check out our garam masala walk-through for more.
For the sauce:
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