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Celebrate the Spice!

Try This Family Recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala

Forget take-out Chicken Tikka Masala! Akanksha Behari, owner of custom-art bakery CakeOholic in Basking Ridge, shares her recipe for this popular Indian dish. Visit her at

Chicken Tikka Masala (Butter Chicken)

Serves 4

2 lb chicken thighs or breasts, cut into cubes*

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin powder


2 tbsp minced ginger 

3 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp Greek yogurt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 c tomato purée

1 c heavy cream

½-1 c whole milk (depending on desired consistency)

2 tsp garam masala (curry powder)

Chili powder (to taste)

1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)

Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1 c basmati rice

* Vegetarians can substitute paneer or tofu for chicken

Marinate chicken with turmeric, cumin, salt, ginger, garlic and Greek yogurt for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour (overnight is best).

In a pot, heat oil, add 2 tbsp minced garlic and 1 tbsp minced ginger and fry until it turns slightly golden brown.

Add tomato purée and cook until oil separates out.

Add cream and milk, bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Add salt, garam masala and chili powder. Cover and simmer on low.

In another pan, cook/braise the chicken (you also can do this in the oven or grill to char just the outer crust), keeping it slightly underdone. Add chicken to the gravy.

Optional: Add dry fenugreek for a wonderful aroma and taste, cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until all the oil separates and the gravy tastes like heaven.


Soak rice in water for at least 30 minutes.

Fill pot with water and 1 cup rice. 

Once the rice and water comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Drain the rice using a strainer then cover the rice in the pot with a lid to allow it to cook in the steam.

Serve over rice and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.