9/25/10

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala? You may be wondering, "where did a girl from Texas, now living in California with no Indian roots learn how to cook this dish?"  Well, I'll tell you.  TV.  Yep, I saw an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay several months ago where he challenged the owner of a restaurant called Saffron in Hudson, NY - Chef Marianna Vadukul - to a throwdown. Her signature dish was, you guessed it - Chicken Tikka Masala. I actually don't remember who won the throwdown but I was impressed with Chef Marianna's style and story and I listened intently as she explained how she made it. 

I've made this dish a couple of times since then and it's best served on a brisk, cool evening - perfect for this time of year. It's vibrant, very spicy, and the chicken just melts in your mouth. I can't get enough of this dish and in fact am making it again next week for friends. If you've never cooked Indian food before, I think this is a nice way to start.

This recipe is based on my recollection from watching the show. At the time I don't believe Chef Marianna's recipe had been published yet. In doing my research for this blog posting today however, I found where she has since posted it and my version is almost spot on. Regardless of which way you make it, it's a delicious way to spice up your life.


tomato puree (I used store-bought this time), fresh ginger, and fresh garlic

adding spices to the mix
Isn't it beautiful?
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-size pieces and lightly salted with kosher salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large white onion, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 2 inches of ginger root, minced (about 2 Tablespoons)
1 28-ounce can of tomato puree (I used Muir Glen Organic)
2 Tablespoons ground turmeric
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons garam masala
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used Fage Total)
kosher salt to taste
fresh cilantro for garnish


In large, heavy pot over medium heat saute the onions in oil until caramelized. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about one minute longer. Add tomato puree, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Taste and salt if needed. Cook until mixture is hot and bubbling.

Add chicken and cook over low-medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through. Stir in yogurt - mixture will turn a vibrant orange. Serve over basmati rice or caulirice with lots of cilantro to garnish.

Chicken Tikka Masala


Note about ground turmeric:  It can stain your cooking utensils, hands, clothing, etc.  For the most part it will wash off within a few washings, but to be on the safe side  you may wish to wear an apron and avoid using wooden or plastic utensils as it's possible they may stain.

69 comments:

  1. Yum...this looks SO GOOD! I've never made Indian food at home, but saving to give this one a try one night soon!!

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  2. Looks delicious! For even more flavor, you can marinate the chicken in yogurt and tikka spice mix...then cook it separately in the oven before folding it into your sauce.It's alot of extra work, but we do that for chicken makhani (butter chicken) and it's good!

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  3. Thanks Wendy!!
    Hi Neel - that sounds awesome! I have a recipe a friend gave me for marinating chicken in a yogurt/spice mix (perhaps it the same as the chicken makhani?) - it's on my play list for the very near future. Really appreciate the feedback and info!

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  4. It probably is the same, if it involves a sauce. If you like chicken tikka masala, you'll like chicken makhani. In fact they look almost identical. Chicken makhani is basically pieces of Tandoori spiced chicken that are folded into a creamy tomato sauce. Tomatoes, ginger, garlic, similar spices, with cream instead of yogurt and a touch of butter. Great blog. Love the photography!!

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  5. This is exactly the kind of dish my family loves, thanks so much for posting! I'm a big fan of the yogurt and chicken, always makes such a nice texture. Gorgeous photos too, btw!

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  6. hi,lovely for a first time try in indian cusine...when u marinate/cook chicken for tandoori/tikka normally we use a less hot version of chilli powder called Kashmir chilli which gives you that rich red color....but here you got the perfect color without tat...great going =)

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  7. This looks stunning! Props to you for being able to recreate it without a recipe. When I make something new, I look at the recipe a million times :) The only time the hubster has ever made me a meal, it was chicken tikka masala so this dish totally holds a warm place in my heart :)

    PS: I'm a girl from California now living in Texas. I thought that was funny :)

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  8. Thanks Kim!

    Hi MJ - it's funny because my "recollection" of the episode included cayenne pepper but in looking at Chef Marianna's recipe online I believe she calls for chili powder. I've been making it with the cayenne, which certainly brings the heat, and I really like it that way! I'll have to look for the Kashmir chili and give it a try. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

    Haha Lawyer - looks like we traded places! Sorry about that Texas heat ;-) This is def one of my faves now!

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  9. @ Enchanted Cook- If she's Indian, she probably meant cayenne pepper. So you got it right. Indians call it "red chili powder", but in the US, chili powder is an entirely different thing. I used to write "red chili powder" in recipes and people would buy the "mexican chili powder" lol.

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  10. Lol Neel! Yes if you tell me "chili powder" I'm thinking the stuff you put in chili! Well, good thing I took good notes when I watched the episode :-) and thanks for clearing that up!

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  11. it is amazing all the wonderful foods we learn to make from TV and our foodie friends! It looks like you had fun and came up with a delicious chicken masala! your pictures are gorgeous!

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  12. This is a favorite dish of mine! I've never tried to make it though. I'm definitely going to give it a shot!

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  13. Thanks to Mr.Neel, I jus realized tat both red chilli powder and cayenne pepper are the same =)Sorry for confusing you Veronica.

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    1. No they are not, one is smoky and the other is a little sweet.

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  14. Chef Dennis - so true and thank you so much!!

    Meredith - I'm so glad! It really hits the spot, doesn't it?

    MJ - no worries at all ;-) I'm glad to have met you on here and look forward to more of your feedback!

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  15. Ooooh This does look so good. Its been cold here in teh UK for AGES! I think a good curry is in order! Yumm!

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  16. This looks fantastic!!! SO YUMMY looking!!!!

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  17. This looks good and I agree, perfect for fall!

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  18. I am totally in love with Indian food these days. This looks like an amazing dish. Have you been to the Indian grocery store in Tustin. I love that place!

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  19. Looks gorgeous, Veronica. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favourite meals - so quick and easy, and everyone seems to love it.
    Sue

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  20. Thanks Joudie, Foivi, Carolyn and Sue!

    Kathleen - I haven't yet but was planning to! A few months ago I was searching for black mustard seeds but then found them at an Indian store while I was out of town. I think there are 2 different stores in Tustin, correct? LMK which is the one to go to!

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  21. This looks incredible!! We just made lamb vindaloo, but now I'm totally craving chicken tikka masala :) Definitely going to have to try it soon!

    Sues

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  22. Thanks Sues - your lamb vindaloo looks yummy (and fun to make)!

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  23. Wonderful dish. I love chicken tikka masala one of my favorites.

    Bravo!

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  24. I just made this last night and it was fantastic. I'm a new cook so I'm always making mistakes. I have always wanted to make an Indian dish, but found most recipes very intimidating. Your ingredients & instructions were perfect and I think I did it justice. Thank you!

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  25. Thank you Laz!

    Hi Angla! Wow, can I tell you what an honor it is that you chose this version for your first attempt at an Indian dish? I'm completely and utterly flattered and even more thrilled that you were happy with the outcome. THANK YOU for sharing your feedback!!

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  26. Damn girl.. I'm of Indian origin and all I can say is you nailed it right on! This looks spectacular... great job! I would totally eat this, I still have to make this dish. YUM!

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  27. Lol Honey! Thank you so much!! It's so great to get the reassurance!

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  28. Had it. Loved it. Just watch out for the Gimlet.

    Keep representing Texas right.

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  29. Thanks Greg! It was great to cook for such a fun group of friends. I'm so glad you liked the dish!

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  30. Your tikka masala looks super great! Hats off on making a usually not-so-pretty (but tasty) dish look beautiful.

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  31. In the episode, she used Red Onion. Also, your recipe doesn't note when to add the yogurt. I'm going to follow the recipe tonight, yumm!

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  32. Hi Anon- agree and either red or white will work. At the time I only had my recollection and notes to rely on! Let me know how yours comes out!
    PS, the yogurt is in the last paragraph :-)

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  33. I tried this dish, made some minor changes with it(Added a tsp of coriender pdr and a tsp garam masala, also added some chicken broth to thin the sauce)...and its come out so well, absolutely delicious. Never knew Cayenne and red chili pdr wer the same.

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  34. hey...i forgot to comment...THIS ROCKS !!!!
    do exactly as the echanted cook says and it will turn out FABULOUS. it keeps well and makes alot of sauce which is great with anything. a must try. thanks for the great recipe Veronica

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  35. Anonymous - those sound like great additions!

    Thank you so much Jules!!!

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  36. Look forward to trying it. The video to Chef's Marianna's is blocked in Canada (lame copyright laws). Would like to try both and compare, but, oh well. I'm sure yours will be great. :)

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  37. My wife and I made this dish using the recipe from Marianna's website. The color was more brown than orange and the taste was slightly sour. We've eaten Indian out many times and the Chicken Tikka Masala is always sweet and creamy. The ingredients we used were fresh. After pouring over this web site and others it appears as though we made a mistake and used Chili powder instead of Cayenne. Could this have caused the color and flavor issues? I just tasted both the Cayenne and Chili Powder and the Cayenne had much more heat and was a bit more red. Thanks!

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  38. Hi BacMan - using chile powder instead of cayenne pepper could make it brown but not sour. I can tell you that I've made my version posted here several times and it's come out fantastic every time. I'd describe it as spicy and creamy and definitely orange in color. You can control the spiciness with the quantity of cayenne pepper.

    Let me know if you have any other questions and I hope you give it another try. This is one of my absolute favorite recipes, especially this time of year when it's cold out.

    Good luck!

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  39. I have never made Indian food before, or even used turmeric in a recipe. And while the dish turned out wonderfully, I think it should be noted for noobs like me: turmeric will ruin your favorite wooden spoon and turn it neon yellow. It also stains stainless steel sinks, but that came out with a little soft scrubbing. No such luck for my spoon D: Oops! Any ideas on how to get rid of the stains?

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  40. Hi Lindsey - You bring up a good point and I'll make a note in my posting with a warning about the potential for staining. It's been my experience that the stains have not lasted on my wooden spoons nor on my hands, after repeated washings. I have not experienced any staining of my sink or pots. I would continue washing your spoon and eventually the stains should go away. Thanks for bringing up the potential issue as I'm sure others have experienced the same thing as you and will benefit from the tip.

    Best regards,
    Veronica

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  41. Thank you for posting this! I've been looking for a good Indian dish and this is just what I've been looking for. I can't wait to try it! :)

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  42. Although I have been cooking Indian, Thai, Mexican, Vietnamese, Cajun, Italian, Chinese, BBQ, and American cooking for 47 years using a multitude varieties of various different spices especially the hot ones where I have experimented in International cooking, you just have to trust your instincts and try both red chili or cayenne in this dish because it depends what you like. This recipe did have a few minor alterations; using tomato paste instead of crushed tomatoes, white onions instead of red onions, and Greek yogurt instead of the organic whole-fat yogurt. Trust your judgement! If you want the authentic recipe that Marianna used, here is her email address: marianna@saffronathudson.com

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  43. I tried this for the first time tonight and was very disappointed. I am wondering if there was a misprint for the amount of spices to use? The 2 Tablespoons tasted awfully unbalanced and overpowering. Was there something I did wrong?

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  44. Hi Anonymous - Sorry you were disappointed. No misprint on the quantities. I make this regularly and have made it for others, too, and it is always very well received. Granted it is spicy and full of flavor. It's really hard to say without seeing and tasting your dish.

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  45. I think my turmeric must have been bad because mine turned out so bitter I couldn't eat it.

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  46. Made this in my cast iron Dutch oven and the chicken came out incredibly tender. Mine was a little more brown than this--I was looking forward to the vibrant orange! And I think I added the yogurt while the sauce was still too hot, because it separated a little bit and wasn't quite as pretty. But it was delicious! I love this dish and am so grateful that I can now make it whenever I want!

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  47. Hmmm...I think I see my mistake with the color: I added the spices before the puree in order to toast them and deepen the flavor. It may have done that, but darkened the color as well.

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  48. I tried it tonight, it is such a fantastic recipe!my hubby loved it and leftovers tomorrow are going to be perfect! The Basmati rice makes the difference. Thanks!

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  49. That looks delicious and I have eaten Chicken Tikka Masala numerous times but have never tried it. Will definitely gonna make this one. I tried making butter chicken and since didn't have yogurt at home used heavy cream instead - it turned out not bad at all.

    One quick tip to folks who are having problem with bitter taste and darker color, You have to be really careful about your onion and spices. If either your onion gets over browned, your food will have a bitter taste and darker color and if your spices get burned it will be aweful. Since these spices are in powder form you have to add them with water. If you throw them in a hot oil directly they will burn in 2 secs and will spoil your food.

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  50. I got a bitter flavor too...but I always have with every homemade tikka masala. I think I have pin pointed it down to my garam masala spice (mccormick). This spice varies somewhat, and I think thats why some people get a bitter flavor and others do not. Too add that sweetness a lot of us look for in our tikka masala, I add small amounts of brown sugar to taste. It also adds a richness and creaminess if you use some half and half or cream in addition to the yogurt.

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  51. Made this dish today. Way too many spices. Even being of Indian descent and having a good share of Indian food I have to say that it was way too over powering, in a bad way. Too much tomato sauce. 2 tablespoons each of tumeric, cumin and garam Marsala? I think you got that all wrong. I was very disappointed with it and had to throw it away. Wouldn't recommend.

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  52. For a girl with no Indian roots, this Chicken Tikka recipe looks brilliant. There are a number of websites that you can visit to learn and make more Indian recipes. PrestigeSmartChef.com is one such website which displays authentic Indian recipes and recipe videos.

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  53. I am on a CTM (Chicken Tikka Masala) crusade. I live in the Rocky Mtn.s but travel extensively. After finding CTM in San Luis Obispo, CA, I have sought it out everywhere. I can tell you where to find it in Indy, El Paso, Phoenix etc. The best I have ever had is from the "India Nepal Oven" in Littleton, CO. It is hauntingly good. The owners are very nice people. I have been trying to replicate/ duplicate their creation for some time now. I have gotten close but still something missing. Thanks for your article.

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    1. Haha sounds so fun! Hope you love it as much as we do 😊

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  54. I just made this and it tastes a little too acidic. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Casie - If it's too acidic, it can only be from the tomato paste. You can add a tad bit of sugar to cut acidity, or add more Greek yogurt. I don't find this recipe to be acidic at all - possibly different sensitivities or maybe just double check your quantities and list of ingredients to be sure nothing is amiss.

      Thanks,
      Veronica

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  55. Hi to all, as I am really eager of reading this website’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It carries good data.
    Indian Food in Texas City
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  56. Thanks for the recipe. I made this with lamb instead of chicken because we've been craving lamb. It was So Good!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback Rachel! Glad to hear it!
      -Veronica

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  57. "I am really enjoyed this dish; it was flavorful and filling.
    this dish looks incredible! :)
    restaurants in south delhi

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  58. First time here..u have a wonderful space with mouthwatering recipes and pics...Happy to follow you Visit mine as time permits...
    chowringhee laxmi nagar

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  59. Very nice post, yammy and testy your recipe, thanks for this,,, Chicken Tikka Wrap Recipe

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  60. Made this tonight. Came out terrible, had to throw it out. These spice proportions don't seem like they could possibly be correct: most recipes call for 2 tablespoons of turmeric, but this one calls for the equivalent of 6 (?). Came out very brown and sour.

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    1. I've made this recipe for years exactly as stated, using 2 Tablespoons ground turmeric and it comes out just like the pictures. Very orange and delicious albeit very spicy. I'm sorry it didn't work for you. Would love to help you through it if you like. Please feel free to email me

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  61. Made it and it was awesome!!

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