2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ cups whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
2 dried chilies or 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
2 Cups Steamed Basmati rice
Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.
Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juices, pureeing them in mixer before. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
Skewer bite-size chicken pieces and grill on a Tandoor Oven or indoor/outdoor Grill or a 400 C oven for 10 minutes. Idea is to grill to a dark brown color and taste. (This is the secret to a good chicken tikka masala)
Add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs.
TIP: Chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving.