Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

I am always intrigued by exotic Indian dishes and the aromatic spices that go into them. I have very little experience with this cuisine so when I saw a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala in local food market’s weekly flyer, I decided to give it a try. I was happily surprised that I had most of the ingredients on the list but found I did have to purchase a couple of the spices I didn’t have… garam masala and ground cardamom.

I was appalled at the price of the little jar of ground cardamom… $9.19 … but I went ahead and bought it anyway.  I am sure it MADE the dish…. hah!  But I digress. Please don't tell me I could have left it out.

Apparently the fondness for Indian food has become so widespread  in Great Britain, that a creation rooted in that cuisine called Chicken Tikka Masala has become a national dish.  It is so popular that it surpassed fish and chips as the favorite take-away. (That would be take-out to us North Americans.)

Anyway, the dish blends Indian flavors with a British food preference, and how it was created is hotly debated.  One popular story behind Chicken Tikka Masala says that many years ago a customer in a Glasgow curry house demanded gravy with his Indian-style chicken. The chef made a nicely spiced sauce and a new dish was born.

Nicely spiced it certainly is, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it… I hope you will too.  It smells absolutely divine as it cooks.  I tweaked the ingredients for the recipe a wee bit  so I will share it and the N.I. as I prepared it.  Enjoy!  I just may use crushed tomatoes instead of diced next time to make the sauce even thicker.

And by the way, I have done some Googling, and learned that TIKKA means ‘bits or pieces’ and that MASALA means’ a mixture of spices’.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala
Makes 6 servings
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder (or turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 large can diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbs fat free plain Green yogurt (leave out for Paleo)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • salt to taste
  1.  Combine the first  8 ingredients (garam masala to cinnamon) in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the coconut oil in a large skillet over MEDIUM heat.
  3. Add the onions and cook until translucent and tender, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  4. Add the spice mixture, tomato paste, ginger, and garlic to the skillet and stir to combine.  Allow to cook about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth.  Bring to a light boil and cook 5 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and allow to simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened.
  7. Stir in yogurt and allow to heat for a couple of minutes.
  8. Serve with fresh cilantro sprigs as garnish and season with salt to taste.
Per serving including the yogurt.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 224; Protein 37g; Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 4g; Fibre 1g.

And now I am off to find a local Indian food market. I am sure I can find these lovely aromatic spices at a much better price…  I intend to be using them a lot, very soon.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 001
Assembling the ingredients before starting to cook. This dish comes together pretty quickly once you start cooking so preparing ahead of cooking is a good step with this dish especially.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 002
Adding the spices, grated ginger, minced garlic, and tomato paste to the cooked onions.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 003
After the tomatoes and chicken broth are added, the sauce needs to simmer for several minutes.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 004
And the chicken will get really tender as it cooks in this sauce.

Nov 9 Chicken Tikka Masala 005
The night I made it The Captain had his on rice… mine topped cauliflower rice.

Nov 10 Chicken Tikka Masala 001
To change things up a bit I served my lefotvers on baked kabocha squash with some string beans…

Nov 10 Chicken Tikka Masala 002
But The Captain chose rice again, so I gave him some veggies on the side, too.

Are you an Indian Cuisine fan?  Have any favorite dishes I should try next?


  1. I would be a fan if you made this for me! :)

  2. This looks delicious. I love Indian food but have always been intimidated to try it at home but this doesn't look super complicated.

  3. Im with JODY.
    or more aptly put ID TRY IT...ID TASTE IT.
    maybe? :-)
    I have such a boring nonspicy palate :-)

  4. ok totally agree, I freak out when ingredients cost that much and I'm not sure if I will like it or not!! I end up looking for substitutes and I"m sure it doesn't taste as good!

  5. Delicious! Thank you for the recipe! I love Indian food.

  6. This looks wonderful! I have never tried making Indian food but love the complex flavors and all of the spices!


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