Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Indian in Pajamas: Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food.  It's one of my favorite types of food.  Thatboy and I were talking about it, and the last time we went out for Indian was when I was heavily pregnant.   That was a very long time ago.  How did we go this long?

Probably because I placed an in-home boycott on our local Indian restaurant and our other favorites are all the way downtown - a place we rarely venture for dinner due to timing, traffic, and a 32 inch troublemaker.

And in general, Indian food you make at home just doesn't compare.  Unless you're my friend Tesseract.  The Indian food she makes at home is delicious, thanks to family recipes passed down from her mother over the phone as she prepares them.

This is especially true of chicken tikka masala, one of my favorite dishes.  It's complicated and even the storebought variety rarely holds a candle to the kind you get at restaurants. 

But I decided to give this version a shot.  I trust Joelen implicitly.  She really knows what she's talking about.  So if she gave this recipe a good review, it must be good.

And you know what?  It is good.  REALLY good.  Thatbaby, who can be a little lukewarm on chicken gobbled it up.  I gobbled it up.  Thatboy gobbled it up.  And the best part of the whole thing?  We didn't have to go out anywhere for it.  Restaurant quality in our pajamas.

Now, does anyone have a recipe they love for saag paneer?

Chicken Tikka Masala (From What's Cooking Chicago)
Chicken Tikka:
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsps table salt
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves , minced
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce:
2 - 3 Tbsp canola oil
1 onion , diced fine
2 garlic cloves , minced
2 tsps grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 can crushed tomatoes
4 tsps sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
  1. Combine cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. 
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with spice mixture. Place chicken in a baking dish, cover, and refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger. 
  4. Remove the chicken from the fridge and pour the yogurt over, tossing to coat.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  5. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until golden. 
  6. Add garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and garam masala. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant. 
  7. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow the sauce to cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Heat chilled sauce in a large dutch oven over medium heat. 
  9. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  10. While sauce is simmering, heat broiler.  Place chicken on a lined baking sheet and broil 10-18 minutes flipping halfway through.
  11.  Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, and then cut into bite sized pieces and stir into the sauce.


  1. Nice that that baby didn't mind the spices in your chicken tikka masala... my 3 yo refuses all the spicy foods that I have cooked :(

  2. I am endlessly disappointed by indian food at home so I'll have to try this (with paneer!). I think Heidi (Swanson) has a saag paneer recipe that she swears by...

  3. I really enjoy Indian chicken dishes especially when accompanied by some coconut rice. Yum.

  4. Aww - so glad you enjoyed the recipe!... Even moreso in pajamas! I tried a saag paneer/pala paneer recipe and it came out good. {Saag = spinach; Palak = mustard greens} You can check it out here: http://joelens.blogspot.com/2012/05/palak-paneer.html

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