I've tweaked this recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods for over the last 10 years. How do I know it's good? My Indian mother now uses this recipe! Vegetarian and vegan substitutions below. Little known fact: CTM was invented in England, not India! Best served with warm naan or my basic basmati rice (PERFECT BASMATI RICE)
  1. Who doesn't love some good CTM? Here's how to make a restaurant quality version at home in 60 to 90 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
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  2. INGREDIENTS:
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  4. For the chicken:
  5. 1/2 of this CTM spice blend: CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA SPICE BLEND
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  6. 1/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
    Healthier option: use nonfat yogurt. Vegans: substitute coconut or soy yogurt.
  7. 1 tsp olive oil, plus extra to coat grill or broiler pan
  8. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  9. 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
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    Vegetarians: use 1 1/2 lbs paneer (Indian farmer's cheese), cubed. Vegans: use 1 1/2 lbs tofu, cubed.
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  11. For the sauce:
  12. 5 tbsp ghee or high quality grass-fed butter
    Vegans: sub 5 tbsp peanut oil
  13. 2 large yellow onions, thinly and evenly sliced
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  14. 1/2 of this CTM spice blend: CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA SPICE BLEND
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  15. One 15 oz can tomato sauce
  16. 1/2 of an 8 oz can of tomato paste
  17. 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
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    Healthier option: use nonfat yogurt. Vegans: use 1/2 cup soy or coconut yogurt
  18. 1/2 cup sour cream
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    Healthier option: use light sour cream. Vegans: sub vegan sour cream or another 1/2 cup of soy or coconut yogurt.
  19. 1/2 cup heavy cream
    Healthier option: 1/2 cup half and half (this will make your curry runnier, though). Vegans: use 1/2 cup coconut cream and 2 tbsp cashew butter.
  20. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  21. About 20 stems cilantro, finely chopped, stems included
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    Set aside 1/4 of the chopped cilantro for garnish later
  22. About 10 large mint leaves, finely chopped, for garnish.
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  23. ••••••••••••••
  24. Chicken instructions:
  25. Preheat a grill to medium high heat, or convection oven to 350 degrees F.
  26. Mix chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, spice blend, and yogurt in a bowl. Allow to marinate for 1 hour, or overnight if you have more time.
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  27. Arrange chicken on skewers and grill approx 7 minutes (until cooked halfway through) or arrange in a broiler pan coated with olive oil and roast in oven for 12 minutes, then broil at 500 degrees F for 3 minutes.
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  28. Set cooked chicken aside for later.
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  29. ••••••••••••••
  30. Sauce instructions:
  31. Melt butter in a stockpot on medium-high heat.
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  32. Once melted, add sliced onions and stir frequently, cooking until caramelized, approximately 30 minutes.
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    Be patient. If you put the heat too high, your onions will be burned on the outside and undercooked on the inside.
  33. Add spice blend, mixing to toast spices, approximately 2 minutes, until you see the butter separate form the onion/spice mixture.
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    If your mixture is sticking to the pot, add a tiny bit of oil or butter to help it release.
  34. Add tomato paste, and mix well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
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  35. Slowly add tomato sauce, 1/4 can at a time and mixing well. Reduce to medium heat and cover, simmering for 5 minutes.
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    Stir every minute to prevent the mixture from burning on the bottom of the pan.
  36. In a bowl, use a fork to whisk the yogurt and sour cream together until you have a smooth mixture, free from any lumps.
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  37. Add mixture to stockpot.
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  38. Stir to mix well, until your sauce looks like this.
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  39. Add heavy cream.
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  40. Stir to mix well. Cover, simmering for 5 minutes.
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  41. Add partially cooked chicken and mix.
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  42. Add 3/4 of the chopped cilantro and lemon juice.
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  43. Stir and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes on low-medium heat. Add salt to taste.
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  44. Serve immediately with hot basmati rice (PERFECT BASMATI RICE) or naan. Garnish with a pinch of reserved freshly chopped cilantro and freshly chopped mint.
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  45. Bon appetit!