Time for some comfort food, Indian-style

Tikka masala is one of the most comforting foods in the Indian repertoire; this recipe is from Lavanya Mahate, owner of all the Saffron restaurants. We’ve always had good Indian food in SLC, but Lavanya kicked it up a notch when she started cooking here. Each of her restaurants emphasizes a slightly different style of Indian cuisine: Saffron Valley Canteen, Saffron Valley Colonial, Saffron Valley Bistro.

During this time of social distancing, all locations are offering safe takeout and delivery. Call the restaurant; they can all be found at saffronvalley.com 

Or try making tikka masala at home. It’s delicious, freezes and re-heats well and your house will smell wonderfully exotic.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves  12


  • Chicken tikka- 4 lbs, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • Vegetable oil- 4 tbsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste- 2 tbsp
  • Garam masala- 3 tsp
  • Cumin powder- 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 3 tsp
  • Sugar- 1 tsp
  • Salt- to taste   
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Yellow Onions- 2 Large
  • Roma Tomatoes- 8 medium
  • Heavy cream- 2 cups
  • Cilantro- 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Butter- 1 tbsp
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (methi)- 2 tbsp
  • Serrano peppers- 1 (optional)


Heat the oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté till soft and translucent. Next add ginger garlic paste. Slightly brown.

Add tomatoes, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander, sugar, salt, turmeric. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and let it simmer until its becomes soft and mushy- about ½ hr. Add more water if needed.

After the mixture cools down a bit, puree in a blender or using an immersion blender until soft. This is the sauce for the tikka masala.

Take another sauce pan and add 1 tbsp of butter, add 2 tbsp crushed methi leaves (fenugreek leaves), 1 slit Serrano pepper (more if you’d like it spicy). Add the pureed sauce, chicken tikka cubes and cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes until everything comes together.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

For Chicken Tikka:

For the Marinade: 

• 1 cup plain yogurt 

• 3 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste

• 2 tsp salt 

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

• 4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

• Juice of 1 big lemon

In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken in a grill pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the chicken rest till the sauce is ready.

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Maloufhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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