Recipe #4: Tikka Masala | The Brisson Family Cookbook

Tikka Masala. Spiced chicken thighs cooking in butter. Onions added to soak up all that butter. Creamy coconut milk. All on top of a bed of basmati rice. Yum!

I find myself, on quite a regular basis, craving some deliciously spicy (but not too spicy) Indian Paired with some lovely rice, this incredibly fragrant food always gets me excited.

How fascinating to learn that one of my favourite dishes didn’t actually come from India. According to Wikipedia, Tikka Masala, one of the UK’s best-loved meals is rumoured to have been created in Glasgow, Scotland. Even more reason for me to love that beautiful country.

So on Sunday after church, I came home and began the lovely, soul-mending preparation. I just love spending time in the kitchen. I’m not an efficient cook. I take too long to cut things up and I re-read the recipe a million times. But I just love the excitement of finding and making a really good meal.

I got this recipe from and didn’t change it at all, except that I used regular butter instead of ghee, and I added some peas for color.

Tikka Masala


1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 tablespoons ghee (I couldn’t find ghee, so I used regular butter)

1 onion, chopped

¼ cup tomato paste

4 cloves garlic, finely grated

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger, or more to taste

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 (13 ounce) can coconut milk

½ cup chicken broth, or as needed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place chicken in a bowl and drizzle vegetable oil over chicken; toss to coat.
  2. Whisk kosher salt, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, ground turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom together in a small bowl. Season chicken with spice mixture and turn to coat evenly.
  3. Melt clarified butter in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Cook chicken thighs in hot butter until browned on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
  4. Reduce heat under the skillet to medium-high. Stir onion into skillet; saute until onion softens and turns translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir. Saute until paste caramelizes, about 5 minutes. Stir garlic and ginger into tomato-onion mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Pour the crushed tomatoes into the skillet and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Pour in coconut milk and chicken broth; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors blend and sauce is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
  6. Stir chicken, any accumulated juices from the chicken, cilantro, and red pepper flakes into tomato mixture; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until chicken is cooked through and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper.


And then after lunch when the kids were in bed, I beat Josh so bad in a game of Carcassonne that we didn’t even bother counting at the end 😀


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