Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chicken Tikka Masala with Spiced Rice and Naan

There are some foods you just crave.  The thought of it comes into your mind and you can physically not stop thinking about it until it's resting comfortably in your belly.  Chicken Tikka Masala is one of those foods for me.  Though it's widely regarded as an Americanized Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala is full of classic Indian flavors.  

As with most Indian food, the ingredient list can look daunting, but it's primarily due to the array of spices used.  And nothing tops off the flavors like fluffy rice and some delicious naan, so all in all, this meal takes a bit more effort.  You could always leave out any of the components, but if you've got the time, it's definitely worth it.

Like a thick, creamy, delicious stew this is comfort food at it's finest.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Served 3, plus leftovers
Leftover Potential: Naan never lasts long enough to become leftovers, but the rice and the chicken reheat easily, and can be mixed together for easy storage in the fridge. Made 2 more meals after the initial dinner.

For the marinade:
1 cup yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp ginger, finely minced
1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into cubes

bamboo skewers, for grilling*

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp Garam Masala**
2 tsp salt, or more to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream

cilantro, for garnish

1. Prepare the marinade by mixing all ingredients but the chicken together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and allow to marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
2. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.
3. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat until translucent. Then add the garlic and the jalapeno, and cook until aromatic.
4. Add the cilantro, cumin, paprika, garam masala, and salt. Stir to combine.
5. Add the tomatoes, and simmer over medium low heat until heated through and good flavor has developed.
6. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.
7. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and thread cubes onto the skewers. Grill, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 8-9 minutes.
8. Remove chicken from skewers and add to sauce. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and naan.

* Chicken can also be cooked in a large saute pan without the skewers, or broiled in the oven.
** You can make your own Garam Masala or use a purchased spice blend.

For the Spiced Rice:
1 tsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1/2 cup short grain white rice
1 cup chicken stock, or more as needed
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin

1. In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic.
2. Add the rice, and then the chicken stock. Season with turmeric and cumin. Allow to simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid completely. As more as needed. Serve with Chicken Tikka Masala.

For the Naan:
1/2 pound all purpose flour
1/2 oz yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup water, or more as needed
1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
1/2 oz butter, melted

butter or oil, as needed for cooking
kosher salt, as needed

1.  Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a medium bowl.
2.  Combine water, yogurt, and butter in a small bowl.
3.  Combine dry and wet ingredients.  If using a mixer, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. If kneading by hand, mix for 10 minutes.
4.  Place in an oiled bowl and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes - 1 hour or until doubled in size.
5.  Cut the dough into smaller pieces, roll into a ball with your hands, then roll out flat with a rolling pin.
6.  Brush both sides with butter, sprinkle lightly with salt, and cook in a small saute pan over medium high heat.  Cook each side until brown and risen slightly.  Serve warm.


  1. Dear lord I cant wait to try that. Here's the deal, we'll cover the wine if you make us this, but we'll need Nan too! : )

  2. Oh boy, I want to make this today! Can't, no time. Maybe Sunday. Maybe our neighbors are free to have dinner with us. I'll check.

  3. We had your mom and dad over for this last night. It was delicious. I have a couple of comments, though. I made 1 1/2 times the amount, but didn't increase the cayenne and jalapeno. We all thought it was hot enough and hotter would have been too much. I also used a tad less cream.

    It was incredibly cold out, so we didn't grill the chicken. Instead, we sauteed it. It was a bit messy. We heaved in the remains of the yogurt marinade too. Would you include it in the sauce if you grilled the chicken?

    If you edit the recipe, you might want to say how big the can of tomatoes is. I used a 28 oz. can for the bigger recipe, and it was fine.

    I was thrilled to make naan and plan to make it often. I had the last piece for breakfast, yum. The chicken, while delicious, is a bigger production. I might make it when Willie is home at Xmas.

  4. Man, I wish I had even one of these ingredients in my apartment so I could make this for Jameson and me...

  5. This sounds so delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe.