Secret Recipe Club – Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

This month I was assigned to Fried Ice and Donut Holes, a blog that I discovered last month when I was first invited to join the Secret Recipe Club. Secretly I was hoping it was a blog I’d be assigned in the near future. Why? Well, first off, the fabulous author of Fried Ice and Donut Holes is Melissa as well. So instantly I knew I’d like her.  With all Melissa’s I find good food and creativity always follow and this was no exception. So many great recipes to choose from! Right away, I zeroed in on her Chicken Tikka Masala recipe, a dish that I’ve struggled with a lot in the past. At this point I’ve probably made at least half a dozen variations from super easy to super challenging, from stove top to crockpot, but nothing has tasted just right. My husband had been ignoring my craving for Indian take out for the last few weeks, so I figured if I made it, he would be forced to enjoy.

There was still something lacking, mostly in the spice, though it was probably one of the closest interpretations a Polish girl can hope for with an Indian recipe. I do plan to play a bit more. My favorite part of the recipe was the marinade. Chicken smothered with yogurt and spices sat in the refrigerator for an hour, or in my case closer to 4 hours. After broiling it, the chicken still remained super tender, to the point that when cutting it seemed more shredded than cube-like. The major edits would probably come in the cooking time. Marinate overnight so creaminess of the yogurt and combination of spices could really permeate the meat. And perhaps use a bit more tomato sauce and stew everything for a few hours rather than the 30 or so minute cook time.

Another thing I’ve recently discovered is how much rice makes a difference. We don’t eat a lot of rice around here, but when we do it’s either in the form or risotto or brown rice. I can’t even tell you the last time I bought white rice. Or white pasta for that matter. I love my carbs and could never part with them, but try to keep them as whole grain as possible. Chicken Tikka Masala over brown rice simply doesn’t work. I found using jasmine rice was a perfect complement and far easier to cook than expected. A bit of white rice every few months never hurt anyone.

My biggest regret was that during the whole process I completely forgot to try out Melissa’s homemade naan recipe. The prepared dough is formed into flat, elongated disk shapes, brushed with butter and basically pan-fried in a cast iron or heavy-bottomed pan until brown and a bit bubbly. I was ready to start my naan while my chicken simmered in tomatoes, completely missing the “at least 2 hour” rising stage.  Even with the recipe turning out as well as it did, paired with light, fluffy jasmine rice, the meal still felt a bit incomplete without pieces of naan to tear up and soak up the remaining sauce. Next time.

Chicken Tikka Masala (Adapted from Fried Ice and Donut Holes) Serves about 4

For the Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 c plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (about 3-4 pieces)

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 pint chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pint tomato sauce
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • Jasmine rice and naan for serving

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice and all spices. Place chicken in a small baking dish and pour over sauce, making sure it’s completely covered including underside. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off any excess and place on baking sheet (curl up the edges of the foil so marinade and juices don’t spill over). Broil for about 10 minutes on each side until slightly charred (it’s okay of the chicken isn’t completely cooked through, it will continue to cook in the sauce). Chop into bite-sized cubes and set aside.

Char Broiled Chicken

Meanwhile melt butter in a medium dutch oven. Saute garlic and onion until garlic is fragrant and onion is slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a boil.

Tomatoes Masala Sauce

Stir in cream until fully combined, add chicken, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Masala Sauce

Partially uncover dish and continue to simmer until sauce has slightly reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes longer. Serve over rice and along side naan.

34 thoughts on “Secret Recipe Club – Chicken Tikka Masala

    • I never really thought something as simple as rice could change a dish. I never buy white pasta and it sometimes tastes strange when I get it at restaurants, when not homemade. But for this dish I feel the jasmine rice is almost necessary. A little doesn’t hurt

  1. Ooh, one of our favorites. I’m so glad that you chose it. Thank you so much for the kind words. You are so sweet! If you do try the naan, let me know how you like it. I could eat the entire recipe myself…Happy Reveal Day!! (from the other, also Polish, Melissa) 🙂

    • Haha, you’re very welcome! Us Polish Melissa’s have to stick together 😛 The naan is a definite. I just need to remember to prepare in advance (something I’m not so good at). My husband was all ready to get an order of it delivered. I tried to explain they’re not going to come all that way to bring a $3 piece of bread!

  2. This looks delicious and surprisingly simple. I’m happy that I can make it with the spices I normally have in my spice draw too! Next time you’re craving Indian food when you’re in my area, we’ll outnumber Sean and go get some together. Adam loves it too 🙂

    • I would simmer it for longer next time, and add some extra sauce so it doesn’t cook down too far, but yeah, super easy. It’s not that Sean doesn’t like Indian, it’s more he’s never in the mood for it when we get take out. Kind of like I never seem to be in the mood when he wants Thai. But would love to get back to that place in Ridgewood!

  3. Great pick! Definitely must try with fresh naan. Though every time I made naan for an Indian recipe, I always have to remake it because my family and I eat it all before the meal is finished :S

  4. Oh, thanks for choosing that recipe! I’ve been wanting to make something like that, and now you led the way! Great SRC choice!

    • You’re very welcome. I love finding new recipes through SRC but when there’s something I’ve been meaning to make for a while, like this, it’s just too perfect.

  5. Great recipe pick~ I have never tried a dish like this, so I am curious as to how it tastes:) Better give it a try~
    Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines Have a Great Reveal Day~

    • It’s actually not that far off from vodka sauce, just a bit spicier. Overall the flavors are mild, tomato-ey and creamy. And the combination of marinating, broiling and simmering the chicken makes it extra tender.

  6. Pingback: Foodie Resolutions and Bucket List « Brooklyn Locavore

  7. Looks delicious! I’ve been hunting for so long for an authentic chicken tikka masala recipe and have not found one yet but I can tell you one vital ingredient is kasoori methi which is dried fenugreek leaves. It makes a huge difference if you add it. Also traditional chicken tikka masala has a little bit of green peppers in it too. Most recipes I have come across for chicken tikka masala are really more of a confused butter chicken. 🙂 If you’re going to have rice with indian food basmati is the way to go. You can get brown basmati but I have never tried it.

    • Thanks for the tips Asiya! I’ve tried brown basmati rice and it was similar to regular brown rice in the sense that it had that heartiness than you really don’t want with the dish. I’ll try adding some fenugreek next time. I never heard of it until we went to Germany a few years back and it seemed to be a staple ingredient (at least with the people we stayed with). I recently noticed we carry it in our coop. And green pepper? Really?? I don’t think I’ve ever noticed green pepper when we go out to eat. This original recipe did call for jalapenos but I was out so just added extra cayenne.

  8. This looks fantastic! I’m really glad you mentioned the tip about using white rice like jasmine. I usually make brown rice too. With these spices, I know I’d love it, and then make the chicken for my husband! Thanks for sharing such a great pick!

    • It’s funny because not even out of health but habbit I buy brown grains, whole grain bread, etc. Then I forget that some dishes actually rely on the white grains. Like I had a Welsh Rarebit (bread smothered with a beer cheese and bacon…yeah.) and it was spread on Texas toast. Without that white bread it would have never worked. Although I guess with enough bacon and cheese anything can work…

  9. I have the same situation with brown rice, but sometimes it’s not the same. Jasmine rice is the only white one that is truly outstanding, unless you’re making risotto. I don’t know why I don’t make indian food often, it’s so amazing! Great pick this month Melissa! ps: I had your blog last month and did you realize the same dessert recipe got picked this month too? your cherry crumble rocks!

    • I know and laughed when I saw it was the same pic 🙂 Although I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising. It’s one of the most read recipes on my blog right now. I’d probably pick it too if I had to reinvent it!

  10. Pingback: Chicken Tikka Masala | Cooking with Tony

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s