Wednesday, January 16, 2013

from our recipe box:: {chicken tikka masala}

I've told you many times that one of our favorite ways to spend time together is in the kitchen. Chris especially is the creative one-- always making up his own versions of dishes (while rarely using measurements) and trying new things. We love finding recipes to try out and new cuisines to taste. Over the past few years, we've learned a lot of recipes and have some favorite go-to meals that make our tastebuds dance. 

I'm going to start sharing some of those recipes with you. I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but now I'm actually putting my fingers to the keyboard to write these down and share them (or in many cases, picking Chris' brain and trying to get him to give me some measurements for the things he makes!). Some will be adapted from other sources (in which case I'll direct you to these sources!) and some will be our own made up recipes. 

In the coming months, I hope to share our amazing barbecue sauce, a tutorial/recipe for sushi and one of our favorites- penang curry. 

First up, is our favorite recipe for chicken tikka masala! It's slightly adapted from McCormick's Tikka Masala recipe here. 

We love Indian food. The rich, hearty flavors and bright colors make it such a good comfort food. Plus, you can impress your friends when it's your turn to host! Tikka masala is a tomato sauce based dish and yummiest served over jasmine rice with a side of garlic naan. 

First, you'll need to make the garam masala-- the spice mix that serves as the base for the flavor. 

The best way to make this is to use the whole spices and grind them up, but you can use the ground spices if you want. We use our mortar and pestle to crush up the whole spices, but a food processor can usually do the trick. (I've seen mortar and pestles for sale in World Market. We bought ours during our Thailand trip.)

Garam Masala 
(makes enough for 2 meals)

Spices you will need (measurements are approximate, because that's just the way we cook.) We store the mix in a jar and the recipe below should give you enough to make the tikka masala twice (depending on how much spice you use!) 

5 whole cardamom seeds
3 whole cloves
1/4 stick (about an inch) cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole coriander
2 tablespoons cumin seeds


Roast spices in a small pan over the stove until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Grind in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Set spices aside. We use about two tablespoons of the ground mix for this recipe. 

Now to get down to making this yummy dish.

Chicken Tikka Masala 
(yields about 4-5 servings, depending on how big your husband's stomach is)

Other ingredients needed:: 

2 tablespoons butter
3 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion (about 1 cup or so) diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of paprika
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt


Melt butter in large pan on medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, chopped onion and lemon juice. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, stirring the whole time (about 10 minutes or so). Add two tablespoons of the garam masala spice mix (that you just made), nutmeg and paprika and however much red pepper flakes you want. 

Stop and smell that gorgeous aroma and get excited for dinner. 

Add garlic. Cook for another two minutes or so. 

Stir in tomato sauce. 

On the side, stir together cream, cornstarch and salt until smooth. Stir this mixture into the pan.

Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Sauce will thicken up a bit. 

Serve over cooked jasmine rice and serve with warm garlic naan. We've tried this recipe for naan before, but it's much simpler and yummier (in our opinion) just to get storebought. :)

(This recipe is based off of this tikka masala recipe and these garam masala recipes- here and here. We've adapted them a bit to fit our liking to make the recipe above.)


  1. Wow! We had chicken masala last night, but it was out of a jar from Trader Joe's. I had no idea it would even be possible to make it homemade. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, Lindsay!

    1. Oh, I bet the Trader Joe's one is delish! I wish we had one near us!

    2. I can second that the Trader Joe's one is delish - but I'm super excited to see your recipe. I can't wait to try it, I love Indian food! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. This recipe sounds amazing and surprisingly simple! I always thought Indian food took hours to make because it's always so tasty and delicious! ;) You're right- it makes GREAT comfort food! Definitely going to be trying this out soon. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. yum! I just had this at a restaurant earlier this week, but I've never tried to make it. I just might have to!

  4. You are seriously making my tummy grumble. Indian food is my absolute favorite. I'm going to have to try making this! Looks absolutely delicious.

  5. i love the frozen version of this from trader joes. never thought about trying to make it myself.

  6. Oh my gosh that looks so good. i can't wait to try this!

  7. Yummy! I love this dish in our favorite Indian restaurant; can't wait to try it!
    Catherine Denton

  8. Read this post this morning and was thinking about it all day! We ended up making it for dinner tonight! With the high price of food on Maui (especially spices!) we found that McCormicks makes a pre-packaged assortment of spices for only $2.99 at Foodland! We also subbed the chicken for tofu and it tasted just as good. This is going to be one of my staple recipes now! Thanks for the post!!

  9. This looks AMAZING. I love tikka masala. I'm going to try this.... soon....


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