Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala & "Indian" Spiced Rice

Finally! I cooked an Indian dish that actually tastes good! Good thing it's my favorite one: Chicken Tikka Masala. I did my research on this one. I watched several videos on YouTube to learn some of the techniques, and I searched the internet for many versions of the recipe. I ended up pretty much following this one, with some changes:



  1. 1 cup plain yogurt
  2. 5 garlic cloves, minced (I love garlic!)
  3. 4 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (I also love ginger--my theory is the more spices, the better!)
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  9. Salt and freshly ground pepper
*I used maybe twice as much of all the above, excluding the yogurt. I watched a few Indian chefs make this dish, and when they said "1 teaspoon," they dumped in about 2 tablespoons of spice. I think the reason all my previous Indian dishes didn't turn out is because I didn't use enough spice! THE MORE THE BETTER!


  1. 450 grams chicken breast, pre-cut into 1 1/2" pieces thanks to the Japanese style of grocery store
  2. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  3. 3 tablespoons butter
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1 1/2large onion, finely chopped
  6. 5 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 4 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  8. 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure chile powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. 2 dried red chilis
  12. 1 tomato, diced
  13. One 35-ounce can tomatoes, juices reserved
  14. 1/4 cup of sugar
  15. 3 teaspoons salt
  16. plain yogurt and milk


  1. MAKE THE MASALA MARINADE: Combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric, ingredients together. Put into large ziploc bag with chicken pieces. Coat well. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate overnight.
  2. PREPARE THE CHICKEN: Preheat the broiler or barbeque grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on the rack. Broil/Grill the chicken, turning once, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 17 minutes.
  3. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining oil and butter until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder, red pepper, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the leftover yogurt marinade and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and serve.
  4. Variation The marinade and sauce here are also delicious with shrimp, lamb and vegetables.

Make Ahead

    The Chicken Tikka Masala can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving. I also sprinkled some coriander leaf on top.

Indian guy making it I wish I could make his version, but I don't know where to find fresh spices. I know dried ones are inferior!

It took me two hours to make this and the accompanying "Indian" spiced brown rice & grain mixture. I got this nice mix of brown rice and other grains from Jusco, and this is the first time I'm using it. Because I only have 1 burner on my stove, here's what I did:

1 1/2 cup rice and grain mixture
1 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon each of:
black pepper
1 teaspoon tumeric
2 tablespoon salt
dash of clove, nutmeg, allspice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion
2 tablespoon sugar
4 cloves garlic
2" ginger, grated, plus the pieces you couldn't grate because your fingers would've been minced

  1. Wash rice & grains. Soak in water for 20 minutes (next time, I will soak it longer). Drain water off.
  2. Mix cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, clove, nutmeg, allspice together in a little cup.
  3. Heat butter and oil in a heavy pot.
  4. Add dry spices mixture and stir for a few seconds.
  5. Add garlic, ginger, and onion. Add sugar to onion to carmelize it. Stir until slightly golden brown. Add tumeric and pepper.
  6. Add drained rice & grains. Stir about five minutes, until the color change to kind of translucent.
  7. Transfer to rice cooker pot, add 1 1/2 cup water and turn on rice cooker. If you are lucky enough to have more than 1 burner on your stove, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes in the same pot on the stove.
Serve with Chicken Tikka Masala and plain yogurt with mint! (Halfway through eating, I also added some of those organic greens from Kushi Elementary, just to force myself to eat salad)

Wow, that was really involved and seriously took me over 2 hours. I listen to podcasts as I cook. Today I heard about the slave trade in young girls in Cambodia. It's TRULY HORRIFIC. I wanted to cry. They electrocute the girls, beat them, hold them in dungeons, don't pay them anything, force them to act like they're enjoying it. One girl, tricked into slavery at 13 and the victim of 2 abortions at 15, was in so much pain she asked for some time off. The brothelmaster gouged her eye out with a piece of metal. WTF. I also heard about a mariner who is certain China "discovered" the New World a thousand years ago, and the evidence for and against his theory. He made a lot of anthropologists very angry. This week is also the birthday of Darwin, so I heard from Scientific American about evolution and little-known facts, as well as some myths about Darwin. Then I heard an interview with a man who wrote a book about Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream speech," where the speech's influences come from, who King borrowed from, how the actual speech is different from King's written version, and why all of it is significant. Podcasts, learning, and cooking. What a good Sunday!

I have to go to work to teach a special English class for 3rd graders--I'll be back later for tikka masala leftovers!

1 comment: