Incredible Gluten Free Indian Chicken Tikka Masala!

Growing up in Utah, I had always been a meat and potatoes, and of course green jello and casserole kind of gal.  In my early 20’s I packed up and moved to San Francisco, California.  I had no idea at the time that this journey would develop my love for many delightful authentic ethnic foods and be the start of my culinary exploration.  San Francisco=culinary heaven!

One of the first Indian dishes I tasted was called Chicken Tikka Masala. Have you tried it? I make my version of this delectable mouth watering dish often and thought I’d share the magic with you, so you can share the magic with someone you love!

The main spice blend used in this dish is called garam masala, which is Hindi for “hot mixture”.  The spice blend is not necessarily hot as in spicy but does have very intense flavors.  You can find garam masala at specialty grocers or you can make it from scratch.  Traditionally you would roast the ingredients whole and then grind them down. But to save time I make it from already ground spices that can be found at ANY grocery store.

Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala made Easy! |

Stir together in a bowl: 1 T Cumin, 1 ½ tsp ground coriander, 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom, 1 ½ tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground cloves and ½ tsp ground nutmeg.  You can store this for a very long time in an air tight container in a cool dry place just as you would regular spices!

Now that you have your spice, you can prepare your chicken 1 to 24 hours before you want to serve it by preparing a traditional yogurt marinade.  I spared you the image of my raw chicken! Combine 1 T fresh chopped ginger, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 and 1/2 cups plain yogurt with 1 tsp  of garam masala and stir well.  Pour over 6 chicken breasts that you’ve placed in a sealed container and allow them to sit for at least an hour in the fridge.  Putting the chicken into the marinade the night before will provide maximum flavor.

Dice up potatoes, carrots, onion, anaheim pepper, garlic, and fresh ginger and saute with olive oil and salt over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.  Anaheim peppers are more mild than jalapenos or serrano peppers so if you like a lot of heat you can use those instead.  If you want it extremely mild, feel free to remove the seeds from the anaheim pepper.

Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala made Easy! |

Stir in 1 T garam masala and 1 T paprika.

Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe made Easy! |

Add one 28 oz can of crushed tomato and give it a good stir. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe made Easy! |

To broil the chicken, arrange the chicken on an oven safe cooking/cooling rack placed on top of a cookie sheet.  You will want to keep a good coating of the yogurt marinade on the breasts.  The cookie sheet will catch any drippings from the chicken.  Place the cookie sheet so that it sits 6 inches from the top coils.  Broil the chicken for 7 minutes then flip them over and cook for an additional 7 minutes.  The chicken will have a beautiful charring which adds a grilled flavor to the dish.  Alternatively you could use a high temperature grill for the same effect.

Is your mouth watering yet? Now chop the chicken in cubes and toss it in with the sauce.  If a few cubes don’t make it into the pot, it’s quite alright – no one will judge you for tasting!

Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe made Easy! |

Finally, stir in a cup of cream!

Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe made Easy! |

Serve over steamed rice with a toasty warm piece of naan.  Garlic naan for me of course to ward off vampires. Adding a tsp of turmeric and a tsp of salt to the rice will give it a nice aromatic flavor and a gorgeous yellow coloring!  You can use any rice, but I prefer long grain!  Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro and sliced toasted almonds.

Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala made Easy! |

(kripyā bhojan kā ānnaṅd lijīyai) – which is Hindi for please enjoy your meal!




Incredible Chicken Tikka Masala!
Serves 6
Marinated charred chicken pieces in a lovely creamy yet spicy tomato based sauce, served on top of steamed rice.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
  1. 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  2. 2T chopped fresh ginger (for marinade and simmer sauce)
  3. 5 garlic cloves minced (for marinade and sauce)
  4. 1T and 1tsp garam masala (for marinade and sauce)
  5. 1 T paprika
  6. 3 large russet potatoes
  7. 3 carrots peeled
  8. 1 yellow onion
  9. 1 anaheim pepper
  10. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  11. 2T olive oil
  12. 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  13. 1 cup heavy cream
  14. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  15. 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  16. 6 cups prepared steamed rice
  1. Combine 1 tsp garam masala, 1T freshly chopped ginger, 3 minced garlic cloves, and 1 ½ cups plain yogurt. Stir well.
  2. Using a fork poke a few holes in the chicken and pour the yogurt mixture over the top ensuring chicken is well coated.
  3. Let chicken rest in the marinade for 1-24 hours.
  4. Largely dice 3 russet potatoes, 3 carrots, 1 yellow onion, 1 Anaheim pepper, 1T garlic minced, and 1T fresh ginger chopped.
  5. Sauté vegetables with olive oil and 1 1/2 tsp salt over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  6. Pour in a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1T of garam masala, and 1T paprika and give it a good stir.
  7. Let vegetable mixture simmer on low for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally to avoid the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Meanwhile cook the chicken. Place an oven safe cooking/cooling rack on top of a large lipped cookie sheet and place chicken on top. The cookie sheet will catch the drippings while the chicken is cooking. Place top oven rack so that it sits 6 inches from the top coils. Broil chicken on high for 7 minutes on each side. Chicken should have some charring which adds a nice flavor to the dish and may be just underdone. It will continue to cook in the sauce. You can also grill the chicken on a high temperature BBQ grill.
  9. Remove chicken from the oven and dice into 2-inch chunks.
  10. Pour 1 cup of cream into the vegetable mixture and stir in the chicken.
  11. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
  12. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with toasted almonds and freshly chopped cilantro.
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