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October 2, 2020

American Lamb Tikka Masala


Recipe Provided By
"Zestful Kitchen"
Prep Time

25 min

Cook Time

50 HR

Total Time

1HR, 25min



Lamb Tikka Masala in a bowl with rice, naan bread, and fresh cilantro


  • 2 tablespoons garam masala, (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, (divided) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, (divided)
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless leg of American lamb, sirloin or shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 serrano, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk 
  • 3 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice and/or naan bread
  • Cilantro or mint for serving 


Combine 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, coriander, and pepper in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Toss the spices around to combine. Add American Lamb and shake to coat. Add yogurt, seal the bag, and massage meat to coat. Transfer the bag to the refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour or up to overnight.

Heat oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium. Add onion and remaining teaspoon salt and cook until softened and starting to brown, 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, serrano, and ginger; cook stirring frequently until onions are softened and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of garam masala, remaining teaspoon of cumin, and cardamom; cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them (or use your kitchen shears to cut them in the can). Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring frequently and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until thickened and deepened in color, 15–20 minutes. Add coconut milk and simmer until thickened, 5–7 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to broil (high) with a rack set in the upper middle position Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside the sheet. Arrange lamb on the rack in a single layer (don’t scrape the marinade off). Broil lamb until starting to char, 10–12 minutes. 

Add lamb to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve with rice, cilantro, and naan if desired. 

Recipe notes: 

Makes 3 cups Tikka Masala sauce

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

Lamb Tikka Masala in a bowl with rice, naan bread, and fresh cilantro
Lamb Tikka Masala in a bowl with rice, naan bread, and fresh cilantro
thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


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