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Tender chicken breast pieces, marinated in yogurt and spices, and simmered in a thick, luscious curry sauce.  Why go out for Indian food when you can stay at home?  Going out is so last year, anyway!

Sometimes, I think I’m too nice for my own good.  Those who know me really, really well are probably throwing their heads back in a fit of laughter right now.  You see, Dear Reader, I come across as someone who is rather unapproachable, unmoved, and cold-hearted.  But then there are some people who I just cannot say no to.  One of my bestest ladies in waiting, Margaret, is one such person.  This Chicken Tikka Masala recipe might help you to understand what I mean.

In my opinion, she’s a saint.  She is always on the move; she always has something to do and she very rarely complains about it, and even in the midst of her personal chaos, she always – without fail – makes time for anyone in need.

I met Margaret in the early 2000’s.  I had just moved to Toronto and had found a job at a tax and auditing firm.  As it turns out, Margaret was my boss.  We hit it off instantly!  We shared the same type of humour and even invented the Lipton Soup Diet.  (I’ll write more about that in a later post.)  Our own terminology soon followed.  For example, we started using the word vortex to refer to any body part we were targeting at one particular moment.  You may have heard people say ‘I will punch you in the neck,’ or ‘I will slice you!’  Well, we would say, ‘I will punch you right in the vortex,’ or ‘I will slice your vortex!’  All in fun, of course, but vortex has served us well!

I lasted a very short time at the tax and auditing firm.  I moved on to recruitment and finally into a human resources role in the education sector.  About a year into my new role, I found myself being promoted to the manager of my department and in need of a staff member.  I wrote up a resignation letter and emailed it to Margaret.  She was still working at the tax firm, so I called her office number and instructed her to print the resignation letter, sign it, present it to her boss, and that she was starting to work for me in two weeks.  She did just that.  Nearly 12 years later, we still work together, although I’m in the same role, Margaret has been promoted twice.  (She’s trying to outshine me!)

In the years that we’ve known each other, she has been there through so many of my ups and downs.  She was there when I became a dad; she was there through my divorce; and, she was there through my lung surgery.  She was there through my mom’s passing, she was there through my coming out, she was there through moves, and break ups, and all four years of my degree studies.  She has stocked my fridge at home and her fridge at work with Diet Coke whenever she finds a good sale.  She’s supported my Pioneer Woman addiction and has driven me across the border many times to find Pioneer Woman products and ingredients for recipes you can find right here on my blog.  She’s even left work early to pick up prescription pneumonia medication to bring to me at home!

And, it’s not just me whom she’s nice to.  She’s great with John.e and he adores her as well.  She takes McKenna to get her nails done, and allows McKenna to tag along on little expeditions around the city with her family.  She has even taken her shopping for women’s products when McKenna came to live with me so she didn’t have to be embarrassed with her dad being present.  Just a few days ago, I heard McKenna refer to Margaret as a second mom.

Margaret does all of these things even while managing a full time job, and while being a wife, a sister, and a daughter to two parents who rely on her support and her know-how every single day.  Oh, and did I mention that she also has four kids of her own – and she teaches Sunday school!  Remember when I said saint?  I rest my case!

I could go on and on about Margaret and how great she is, but this is a recipe post, after all.  My Chicken Tikka Masala recipe came about because of her.  Here’s how:  She came to work one day and told myself and Lesli (my other lady in waiting) that her daughter said she needed to prepare Chicken Tikka Masala to take to school as a part of some class-wide project.  There was just one problem – Margaret wasn’t told about this project by her daughter until 8 pm the night before it was due.  Needless to say, her daughter requested an extension and Margaret asked if I could help her out.

How could I say no?  She’s never once said no to me!  I agreed to make the dish, and I’m glad I did.  It gave me the chance to lend a hand to Margaret, because she tirelessly does so much for everyone else.  But, let me tell you, Dear Reader, this recipe did not make its way to Margaret’s hands without me bitching about it.  I’m not a huge fan of recipes that take a long time to prepare or those that make a complete mess of our kitchen.  And, this particular recipe, did just that.

Don’t let that sway you though.  Just learn first from my mistakes.  For example, when frying the chicken pieces, do so in a deep pan or skillet.  This will help to avoid the splattering of grease and yogurt.  When cold yogurt hits a hot pan, it splatters everywhere.  After I finished making this Chicken Tikka Masala, not only did I have to clean the oven from top to bottom, but I also needed to wipe down our cabinets and mop the floor.  Was the Chicken Tikka Masala worth it?   Absolutely!  But, Margaret was worth it even more!

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Chicken Tikka Masala

Tender chicken breast pieces, marinated in yogurt and spices, and simmered in a thick, luscious curry sauce.  Why go out for Indian food when you can stay at home?  Going out is so last year, anyway!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 230kcal
Author Lord Byron’s Kitchen


For the Marinade:

  • 5 large skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, for garish


  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients.  Stir in the chicken pieces, being sure to coat every single piece.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, make the sauce by adding the butter and onions to a heavy bottomed pot.  Cook the onions in the butter until well cooked – about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and ginger.  Cook for 3 minutes more.
  • Next, add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and coriander.  Stir into the onions and garlic mixture.  
  • Add the tomato paste.  Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Next, add the salt, chili powder, and tomato sauce.  Stir to combine everything. Place a lid on the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Lastly, stir in the brown sugar and water.  Use a hand-held blender to puree the sauce until smooth and creamy.  Lower the heat to the lowest setting, place a lid on the pot, and start frying the chicken.
  • To fry the chicken, add the vegetable oil to the large skillet and turn the heat to medium.  Once the pan is hot enough, fry the chicken in batches, about 3 minutes per side.  The chicken does not need to be cooked all the way through, as it will cook more when added to the sauce.  Transfer the chicken to a bowl and fry the next batch.
  • Once the chicken is all fried, bring the sauce back to a low boil – medium low heat.  Add the chicken, along with all of the juices that might have collected in the bowl.  Stir the chicken gently into the sauce.
  • Place the lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes.  
  • Serve with rice, garnish with parsley or cilantro, and a bit of plain yogurt.  Enjoy!


Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 916mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 780IU | Vitamin C: 10.6mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2.1mg

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I'm excited to try this recipe. The instructions say to add tomato paste but it is not in the list of ingredients. How much should be used?
    1. Good catch, Mary! I've updated the recipe card with the correct info. Thanks for letting me know there was an error! :)

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