Chicken Tikka Masala

Rati Lohtia

JBF Friend Member, NYC

JBF Friend Member Rati Lohtia grew up in India, where she learned to cook from her mother. These days she passes on her culinary expertise to students at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education and the Miette Culinary Studio, where she teaches the Saveur Magazine Indian Classics course.


  • 6 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • One 15-ounce can tomato purée
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • One 5-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 small green chiles (or 2 jalapeño peppers), julienned
  • 1/2 teaspoon degi chile powder or hot paprika (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste (see note)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add the fenugreek and toast until it becomes fragrant and darkens in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool, crush with your hands until it becomes powder-like. You will have about 2 tablespoons of crushed fenugreek. Set aside.

Heat the tomato purée in a large, wide pan over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, add three tablespoons of the butter and cook until melted and combined, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Heat the remaining butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, peppercorn, and cloves and stir until the spices begin to crackle and turn a shade darker. Add the ginger and chiles and sauté until the ginger is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chile powder or paprika and the ginger–garlic paste and stir to combine.

Season the chicken with salt, increase heat to medium-high, and sauté the chicken until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken mixture to the tomato mixture and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Add the honey and reserved fenugreek, season with salt if necessary, and add the cream. Stir to combine and serve hot.


4 servings