Chicken Tikka Masala

“Life itself is the proper binge.” --Julia Child

I love Indian food.  Curries and samosas, naan, chutneys, and spices. Oh my!

Chris and I recently visited a new Indian spot near us and gorged ourselves on some lovely food.  There was a cauliflower appetizer, Lasuni Gobi, with crispy pieces of cauliflower in a tomato/garlic sauce that was just amazing. I'm already craving it...I want it now....every day....

Back to dinner: Chris ordered the chicken tikka masala and I had a green curry with shrimp.  Both were fresh and fantastic, but Chris did note that while he enjoyed his dish, he liked my chicken tikka better because it was creamier.  I thought the version in front of him was pretty great, but for fun, I made my version a few days later and he compared the leftovers with mine.  Guess who won?  ;)

Here's my "winning" recipe. I know it probably isn't authentic to any part of India, but it tastes great:

Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 2-3 people.
  • Marinate 2-3 large raw chicken breasts with 1 small container of Greek yogurt, Tikka paste (garam masala) and cilantro for at least 24 hours.
  • Place the marinated chicken on a grill or foil-covered broiler and cook until meat is no longer raw and starting to brown.
  • In the meantime, make your tikka sauce: Saute garlic and ginger in 2 TBS of butter, and then add 3 TBS of Tikka paste (use less if you can't take the heat), 2 TBS of tomato paste, 1 cup coconut milk or heavy cream, 1 cup of tomato sauce, 2-3 tsp salt, 1-2 tsp each of curry powder, cumin, chili powder and cilantro, and 1 tsp of sugar. Heat until the sauce has thickened and is a lovely orangey-red color and tastes right (you may need to add more spices, sugar, tomato  paste or cream). Remember, this is approximate and you'll need to tweak-- honestly, I just throw a bunch of this stuff together and it always turns out great.
  • Cut the broiled chicken into 1 inch chunks and toss with the sauce and let simmer for a few minutes. 
  • Serve over rice, or in a bowl w/naan for dipping. I also serve w/ salad of cucumber and tomato w/yogurt and cilantro on the side, as my "tikka" is spicy!

You can also buy a jar of tikka masala starter, tweak the spices and stir in a bit of cream to make it your own. Most grocery stores carry naan now (check the bakery and bread area), so just heat them up in the oven and enjoy with the tikka.  If you can't find naan, pitas would probably the best second option. But really, anything that sops up that yummy sauce will do just fine.