Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

An easy-to-prepare creamy chicken dish flavoured with garlic, ginger and turmeric that's cheaper and faster than take- out. This 20-minute express version of chicken tikka masala eliminates the traditional step of marinating and grilling the chicken, but it definitely keeps all those wonderful classic flavours!


1 3/4 pounds chicken breasts or thighs (boneless)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 (14 ounce) can puréed tomatoes or diced tomatoes
1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
Basmati rice, for serving
Naan bread, for serving (optional)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (full fat)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro


Cut chicken into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken and cook until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

If pan looks dry, add more oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, chili powder and cardamom. Cook, stirring until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir, cook for another minute.

Add tomatoes and whipping cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add chicken back to pan. Continue to cook until sauce is thickened and flavours marry, about 10 minutes.

Serve chicken tikka masala with rice and naan bread. Garnish with yogurt, almonds and cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings.