Grilled Chicken Tikka Masala is a flavor packed comfort recipe with spiced yogurt, coconut milk, tender grilled chicken, served over fluffy rice. This is an ultimate crowd pleaser and yet so simple to make. Leftovers are perfect for packed work lunches.
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If you are looking for a heavenly family style comfort food, then you have to try this Grilled Chicken Tikka Masala. Over the years I have had various different chicken tikka dishes that were enjoyable. It wasn’t until my cousin Niki made her version that my husband and I absolutely fell in love with it. We were literally talking about it a month later. You can imagine my excitement when we made plans for me to visit her. My first thought, “hmmm, we have to make Grilled Chicken Tikka Masala.” I was excited as a little kid on Christmas day when she agreed. My excitement stems from not only loving this dish and wanting to make it for my husband but also being able to share it with you. This Grilled Chicken Tikka Masala is a wonderful dish that will bring loved ones together, sharing a meal at the dinner table.
Tips about Grilled Chicken Tikka Masala:
- Don’t let the spices scare you. I can not over emphasis this enough. Spices are such glorious cooking tools that add a wonderful depth of flavor to meals. Ground spices can last for 2-3 years in your cupboard and can be used for multiple dishes. The cumin and coriander from this dish are perfect for making several Mexican meals from taco seasoning to refried beans. The ground ginger, multiple Asian dishes. If you love gumbos, than you will be pleased to know that garam masala is one of the secret ingredients that makes it out this world good. (affiliate) For those on the fence about buying multiple spices, but really want to cook more, spices are one of the best investments you can make as a home cook.
- Marinating the chicken in the yogurt, lemon juice and the spice combination is what makes the meat so incredibly tender and flavorful. Be careful though, don’t marinade it more than 5 hours. Marinating for too long may cause tough, dried out chicken.
- Traditionally the chicken would be cooked in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven that produces high temperatures and convection like cooking (1). Grilling the chicken at home is the next best way to achieve the smoky flavor that the tandoor oven would produce. So definitely fire up your grill, but if you don’t have a BBQ no worries. Bake the marinated chicken at 350℉ for about 30 mins or until it almost reaches an internal temperature of 165℉. You will want to slightly under cook the chicken as it will continue cooking in the masala sauce. The dish will still taste incredible if the chicken is baked. Or you can always use an indoor grill. (affiliate)
- Temper the yogurt. Before adding the yogurt to the makings of the hot masala sauce, temper the cold yogurt first. Adding a bit of the hot masala to the yogurt and stirring well, will help prevent the yogurt from curdling when adding to the hot pan.
For other flavor packed Asian dishes check out:
Grilled Chicken Tikka Masala
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp garam masala *see picture above
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp butter or oil
- 1/2 lg. brown onion *diced, about 3/4 cup
- 2 cloves garlic *crushed or minced
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp black pepper *1 tsp for mild heat
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro *plus more for garnish
- For the Marinade- In a large bowl mix yogurt, lemon juice and spices well. Add chicken, making sure to fully submerge into marinade. Cover and marinade in the refrigerator for approximately 4 hours.
- Once chicken is marinated, grill over a med/high heat until almost reaching an internal temperature of 165℉, approximately 5-6 mins per side. Once grilled, set aside and let rest until completion of masala sauce. Slightly under cooking chicken will help keep moist as it continues cooking in the masala sauce.
- For the Masala Sauce- Measure spices in a small bowl- set aside. Heat a small stockpot over med heat. Add butter and onions, sauté until translucent-about 4-5 mins. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another 2 mins. Add spices and heat & stir until aromatic, about 1 min. Mix in tomato paste & heat for an additional 30 sec. Slowly whisk in coconut milk. While coconut milk is heating measure yogurt. Make sure to temper yogurt by adding a bit of hot coconut milk first before adding yogurt to sauce. Add yogurt and stir well. Cut chicken breasts into 1/2 inch cubes and add to sauce. Add chopped cilantro and simmer for 15-20 mins over med/low heat.
- Serve over rice or quinoa and garnish with chopped cilantro.
This recipe is part of Meal Plan Monday.
If you love Asian flavors, check out these recipes: