Chef John's Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

This creamy chicken curry contains cow-free cashew cream, which tastes and acts like heavy cream. Cashew cream thickens faster! Garam masala, whole cashews, lime wedges, and cilantro enhance this simple dish. With garlic naan or rice!


– 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste – 2 teaspoons paprika – 2 teaspoons garam masala – 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin – 1 teaspoon ground coriander – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper – ½ teaspoon ground turmeric – 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh – 1 tablespoon vegetable oil – 2 tablespoons butter, divided – 1 yellow onion, chopped – 4 garlic cloves, minced – 2 tablespoons tomato paste – 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root – 1 cup chicken broth – 2 cups cold water – ¾ cup whole roasted cashew – ⅓ cup sliced green onion – ⅓ cup freshly chopped cilantro – 1 lime, juiced


Mix salt, paprika, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and turmeric in a small bowl. Reserve spice mixture.

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Halve a chicken thigh lengthwise along the crease. Halve the thickest part for three 2-inch pieces. Repeat with remaining chicken thighs.

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Put chicken in basin. Add oil and 1/2 spice mixture; stir well. Refrigerate marinade for 4–12 hours under plastic wrap.

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Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large pan on high until melted and golden brown before frying. Single-layer chicken browns 4–5 minutes per side. Put chicken and liquids back in bowl.

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In same pan, melt remaining butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, tomato paste, ginger, and remaining spice blend. Cook and stir 2–3 minutes until aromatic. Add chicken broth, simmer

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Add chicken and liquids. Mix water and cashews in a high-speed blender until smooth, then add to the pan.

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Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15–20 minutes to combine flavors. Add green onions and cilantro; season. Add lime juice.

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287Calories 19gFat 9gCarbs 22gProtein 

See Also

Chicken Vindaloo Recipe