Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

It's a wonderful thing to raise a son who likes to cook. I really feel like I've done a proper job as a mother when I've raised a boy can both cook and do his own laundry.

The other night, after he stumbled out of the basement and scared the living bejeezus out of me (because he actually lives in his own apartment downtown and occasionally stops over but doesn't actually tell me in advance) he suggested we make some Indian food for dinner. Now, either you love Indian food or you hate it. Most people think "ugh, curry, I hate curry" when they hear Indian food, but when it's done right, it is aromatic and delicious and often does not even contain any curry.

We decided to make Chicken Tikka Masala, based on a recipe he found online but we made our own modifications. It was awesome. If you don't like it too spicy, cut the cayenne pepper by half, although this had just enough spice to notice, a bit of a spreading warmth in your belly, but not enough to make you tear up or run for a glass of water. Serve it with warm naan bread and fragrant rice, like jasmine or basmati.

We doubled the recipe because, a) we have big appetites and b) we wanted enough for lunches the following day. It reheats very well and I think tasted even better after the flavours had a chance to marry. (Marry? Lunch was an awesome honeymoon, man.)

gratuitous flower shot to break up monotony of too much print

Chicken Tikka Masala (serves 4)


1 cup plain yogurt
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (we used a bit more)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 TBSP grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp salt or to taste
3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
skewers for bbq'ing chicken

1 TBSP butter (I added olive oil to keep from burning)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce (Molisana strained tomatoes in a jar. The best.)
1 cup heavy cream, 35%
1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro (coriander)

In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients and stir in chicken pieces. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or more.

When you're ready to eat, make the sauce. Melt butter with a bit of olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute for one minute. Add cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat BBQ to high, and oil lightly. Thread the chicken pieces on to skewers and grill until juices run clear, about 4 minutes per side. Add the grilled chicken to the sauce, stir and let it simmer for 10 minutes to develop the flavours. Add chopped cilantro and serve with jasmine rice or other scented rice and the warm naan bread.

Oh, baby.

Oh. Baby.

Now, you can cut the cayenne to 1/2 tsp if you are a Spice Wimp.

If you don't want to use the BBQ, you can just cook it in the oven, under the broiler or stir fry it.

And you can substitute 10% cream or whole milk if you are a masochist and want to cut down on the fat, but I, like Mark Darcy, like it just as it is.


Debby said...

Would your son be willing to emigrate? If I said please? Okay, dang it. I'm begging!

A Novel Woman said...

If you send up your husband to "take care of" the deer eating my cottage garden, I'd be willing to swap.

Debby said...

He'll be glad to. He'll even bring the evidence home and hide it in our freezer. How about that?

Debby said...

They don't have a hunting season up there?

A Novel Woman said...


Yes, they do have a hunting season, but you need a hunter. Also, my BB gun only works on squirrels. Not that I would know this For Sure.

A Novel Woman said...

And I'm guessing squirrel could substitute for chicken in this recipe. And I'd have a nice fur hat.

Debby said...

When I was a kid, I reached in to grab a hair brush off my dresser and accidently picked up a squirrel tail that my brother had set there (for reasons I'm still not sure of.) Screamed my head off.

You could have similar fun with the squirrel tails if you do not hot them all to wear on your head. Just saying. Let us know how the squirrel tikka masala works out, okay?

Debby said...

do not HOG them all to wear on your head. Sorry.

A Novel Woman said...

No, I like hot them all better.