Chicken Tikka Masala

I enjoy cooking for people. I’d do it every day if I didn’t feel like I needed to clean the house first. Or after, ha.

I was thinking how cool it’d be to have an old-school boardinghouse. I wonder if something like that could work today, where you have a certain mealtime and just expect that people would show up. People are so busy and so independent today. But everyone has to eat and sleep.

Really I have only a superficial understanding of what a “boardinghouse” looked like, as the backdrop of pieces of fiction I’ve read. They weren’t the main attraction, just where the heroine happened to be sleeping and mostly missing meals during her adventures.

The closest thing I’ve experienced to a boardinghouse is, of course, the college dorm, but my experience in the dorm was that you could go most of your time there without speaking to anyone but your roommates for your whole tenure, even with a common bathroom. You don’t really want to speak to anyone in the bathroom because the bathroom is gross. You don’t have to clean the bathroom yourself, and even if you worked in the kitchen…well. I didn’t work in the kitchen at school ever, actually, so I don’t know what’s that’s like.

But the boardinghouse in my head is basically a row of condos or townhouses, with one big common room and kitchen in the middle. I put a menu up for the week on a website with prices for each meal, people RSVP for what meals they’ll make it to and pay for the groceries, and then I cook the meals, and at the end of the meal everyone cleans the kitchen and dining rooms together, thoroughly and with lots of laughter. Maybe on the weekends people who like to cook but work full-time would cook.

I know it’s more work to cook for more people, but I want to share more, somehow. I want to be able to go up to my neighbors and be like, hey, I’m making lots of food tonight, want to come over? I should, and I have in my head, especially my across the hall neighbor, Debbie, who has two cats. The first animal Ava ever petted was Debbie’s cat.

Anyway. We had plenty of this tikka masala, even after we shared it with our friends. I made it because I thought it would be a good summer meal, being made mostly in the crockpot, but there is still at least twenty minutes or so standing over a hot stove, though the stove doesn’t heat up the house quite as much as the oven.

If anyone wants to make this soon and needs the ginger, I have all the ginger you need because I sent Adam to the store to get some, and he came back with about a pound, not having more specific instructions. So just text me or message me on Facebook and I’ll get it to you.

The original recipe is from Tasty Kitchen, and I made it with few alterations. I served it along side some homemade naan from this recipe from the New York Times. It makes 8-10 servings, I would think. And took me about five hours.

Chicken Tikka Masala 


For the Chicken 

About 9 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cut into Bite Sized Pieces

1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander

1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Cup Yogurt

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 Whole Jalapeno, De-Stemmed, and pierced several times with a sharp knife

For the Sauce

4 Tablespoons of Butter

1 Onion, Diced

6 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

3 Tablespoons Garam Masala

1 Piece of Fresh Ginger, 3 Inches Long, Peeled, Grated or Finely Minced

28 Ounces Crushed Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Sugar

2 Teaspoons of Corn Starch

1 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream

For Garnish 

Cilantro, Chopped

For the Buttered Rice

2 Cups Basmati Rice

3 Cups of Chicken Broth

2 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter


Don’t panic at the long list of ingredients.

Get your crockpot out and take the lid off.

Combine the bite-sized chicken, yogurt, coriander, cumin and salt in a large bowl and let rest for ten minutes or so. In the meantime, I diced and minced the onion and garlic,  and pierced and de-stemmed my jalapeno (all of which I set aside for a little later).

Melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large skillet.

Raise the heat to medium-high and cook one fourth of the chicken, trying not to crowd the pan.

Repeat with the remaining chicken, dumping the browned chicken into your readied crockpot.

Put your pierced jalapeno on your pile of browned chicken.

Use the same skillet to prepare the sauce.

Melt four tablespoons of butter over medium high heat and brown your diced onions and garlic, along with the tablespoon of salt. Stir frequently until the onions are soft and starting to get browned, about sevenish minutes.

Stir in your minced or grated garlic and the three tablespoons of garam masala, cook until fragrant, about another minute.

Turn the heat to high and add the crush tomatoes and tablespoon of sugar.

Bring to a simmer while stirring constantly, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, this didn’t take long at all, about a minute or so for me.

Pour the sauce over the jalapeno-topped browned chicken.

Cook on low for five hours or high for two and a half or three hours.

About twenty five minutes before serving, prepare the buttered rice.

Combine the rice, butter and broth in a saucepan over medium high heat.

Bring to a boil, then cover with a tight lid and lower the heat to low and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Whisk the cornstarch and heavy cream together in a small bowl until smooth.

Stir into sauce and chicken until evenly combined.

Replace the lid and cook until bubbly around the edges, about ten minutes.

Serve the chicken over the rice and top with cilantro, if desired.

Raw Chicken soaking in yogurt
Yum, Raw Chicken Soaking in Coriander Cumin Salted Yogurt
Uncrowded Pan
An uncrowded pan, halfway through one batch of the browning process
aluminum solution
My rice was always coming out crunchy because my lid isn’t exactly “tight fitting.” I came up with the solution of putting aluminum foil under the lid and this batch of rice came out delicious
And the previous images aren’t very yummy-looking, so here’s the finished product again.

3 thoughts on “Chicken Tikka Masala

  1. I am taking my chicken down for this now. It looks fantastic!
    Your discription of a boarding house reminded me of a bed and breakfast. Dad and I will be checking one out next month while we are in Missouri. I will let you know if it fits the bill then you can open your own!


    1. Thanks, Mom. There’s a website called where you can rent out your couch. I could open a B&B tonight if I wanted, haha. I’d prefer a boardinghouse over a Bed and Breakfast because a boardinghouse is a little more permanent. I wouldn’t want to have strangers filing in and out of lives every day, but I imagine in a boardinghouse it would almost be like a giant family, or at least a tight-knit community.


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