top of page
  • Writer's picturehungryhungryhayden

Butter Chicken/Chicken Tikka Masala

Don't let the name scare you away, butter chicken or chicken tikka masala is basically a stew (or at least as us Americans know it). It follows that same protocol every other stew does- sear the proteins, sauté the aromatics, deglaze, and braise.


Chicken Thighs- Boneless skin on is the holy grail for this application because I like the texture of the seared skin, but boneless skinless is also good for this application.

San Marzano Tomatoes- yes there’s basil in them. No, it doesn't matter because these are the tastiest tomatoes and they are the best base for tomato based sauces.

Masala Spice Mix- 3 parts cumin: 3 parts paprika: 2 parts coriander:2 parts turmeric : 1 part cayenne (can sub Kashmiri chili for cayenne).

Ghee- the pan lubricant in this technique

Ginger- about a thumb sized piece, peeled and minced.

Garlic- equal parts to the ginger

Onion- Finely diced

Cilantro- 1 bunch. Chiffonade. Save some whole leaves for garnish

Plain Yogurt or Cream or Coconut Milk- to finish the sauce and make it that luxurious orange color

Lime Juice- balance the richness at the end

Asafetida (optional)- most grocers don't carry this, but this is what makes Indian take out taste like Indian take out.


1. Dry brine chicken thighs overnight. If you want you can make a marinade with yogurt, lime juice, salt, asafetida, and some of your personalized curry spice mix.

2. Sear brined or marinated chicken in ghee until a good fond develops in the pan. Remove chicken and sauté onion until it starts to take color, then add ginger, garlic, a quarter the cilantro, and spices. If at any point the pan starts to look dry, add more ghee.

3. Deglaze with the juice from the tomatoes and maybe a little water if needed. While deglazing, crush the tomatoes so the sauce is your desired smoothness. .

4. Bring back to a simmer, and cut the chicken into hunks. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook until the chicken is tender and the sauce is reduced to the point where the tomato sauce is starting to break and grease is starting to separate out.

5. Turn off heat and stir in plant or beef milk product ( yogurt, cream, or coconut milk) and lime juice until the flavors are balanced and the sauce takes an orange hue.

6. Serve over white rice and garnish with cilantro

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page