Saturday, October 13, 2007

Chicken Tikka Masala with Garlic Naan

This is my absolute favorite Indian dish. It is a grilled chicken in a tomato cream sauce. I've made this recipe several times, with various modifications... until I finally perfected it! :) All of my modifications have been noted below. The major changes I made include doubling the sauce, and adding garam masala to the list of spices. If you are trying to cut back on calories, you can substitute all of the cream for fat free evaporated milk and you can't really tell the difference :) Be warned that this is a very spicy dish, and if you don't tolerate spicy food very well, you may want to omit or decrease the amount of cayenne/jalapeno.

My second favorite thing at an Indian restaurant is the naan. Naan is a round flatbread that is great for scooping up your food, and I love to use it to soak up all the yummy sauce from the dish :) Having recently overcome my fear of working with yeast, I did not let this naan recipe scare me off! It was a decent amount of work, but so worth it! I saw several reviewers indicate that they halved the recipe but I did not for two reasons: (1) it's hard to halve an egg! and (2) I figured I could do all the work just once, and then freeze the leftovers.

We do not have a grill, so I made my naan on the stove with my sauté pan. Based on some of the reviews, I also added 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the dry ingredients. I also did not add the garlic to the dough, but rather sautéed it in the melted butter. The garlic flavor gets infused into the butter and gives the naan a nice garlic flavor, but it isn't as garlicky as some of the garlic naan I have had in restaurants.

This is typically served with basmati rice, but since we didn't have any on hand, I just served it with jasmine rice. Now that I have learned how to make the naan, I love that we no longer have to go out in order for me to have my favorite Indian meal! :)

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup yogurt (I used plain vanilla yogurt)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (decrease this if you don't have a high tolerance for spicy food)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons salt, or to taste (1 tsp is plenty)
1 teaspon garam masala
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1 tablespoon butter (I use 2 tbsp)
1 clove garlic, minced (I use 4 cloves garlic)
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (I use 1 tbsp garlic chili paste)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 teaspoons salt, or to taste (I use 1 tsp)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (I use 2 cans)
1 cup heavy cream (I use a 12oz can fat free evaporated milk + 1/4 cup cream; or 2 cups fat free evaporated milk)
1 tomato, chopped, or 1 can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients: yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt (I also add garam masala). Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. (I normally allow it to marinate at least a few hours, or overnight.)

Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. (Instead of skewers, I simply grill the chicken on my George Foreman grill.)

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika, garam masala and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream (I also add the chopped/diced tomatoes here). Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Garlic Naan

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk (for more authentic flavor, use 3 tbsp vanilla yogurt instead)
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water (I also added a pinch of sugar). Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, baking soda, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. (I added the listed ingredients and 2-1/2 cups flour into my KitchenAid mixer, mixed on medium speed using the flat beater, then switched to the dough hook and added 1/2 cup of flour until the dough was smooth and did not stick to the edges of the bowl any longer. Today, that happened to be a total of 4-1/2 cups as directed by the recipe.) Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume. (I heated my oven to 150F, turned it off, and then let the dough rise in the warmed oven.)
Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. (I did not add the garlic here) Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.

At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.
For one less piece of cookware to wash in the end, melt butter in the sauté pan you will be cooking the naan in. Sauté garlic over medium heat until golden. Strain the garlic and save the garlic infused butter to brush over the naan. (If you do not strain the garlic, it will burn on the naan while cooking.)
Alternate method: Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat (it should still be lightly buttered from the garlic sauté). I did not watch the time during this process but found that by the time I had rolled one of the balls out into a thin circle and added it to the pan, it was time to flip the first piece. So here's what I basically did: roll out dough ball #1, place in pan and close lid. Roll out dough ball #2; open lid, brush #1 with butter and flip; add #2 to the pan, and replace the lid. (No need to brush the cooked side of #1 with butter after flipping as the recipe indicates.) Roll out dough ball #3; open lid, remove #1 onto your serving dish; brush #2 with butter and flip; add #3 to the pan and close lid. Repeat this process until done.


  1. I cannot believe you made naan!!! it looks great. I am totally stealing the chicken recipe!

  2. I am ashamed to admit I have never had Indian food, but I really want to try it. This looks great. I'm going to give it a shot!

  3. YUM!!!! That's one of my all time faves!! I've never made the naan and have yet to over come my fear of yeast- but this looks awesome! ;)

  4. i have never tried making indian food. this looks absolutely to die for. i'm so impressed!

  5. I made this recipe for the chicken tikka masala last week. It is sooo good! It really tastes just like our favorite Indian restaurant. We loved it so much, we are making it again this week and we'll be trying the naan this time :) Thanks!!

  6. I absolutely love Naan. unfortunately so do my thighs!

  7. I recently found your website through Peabodys concoctions...I love your dishes and have already tried several...the tiki masala dish being my favorite...I think its better than my neighbors and she is Indian and makes this in the traditional way! Thanks again for the great pics and recipies!

  8. Do you think you could freeze the Nan once cooked?

  9. anonymous - yes, i think this dish would probably freeze well.

  10. YES. These are two of my favorite foods of all time. I have never attmepted garlic naan at home before. I use a flatbread shortcut that isn't as good but is functional. I'm looking forward to trying your recipes for these - thanks for sharing!

  11. what kind/flavor yogurt did you use?

  12. anonymous - I didn't notice I left this information out - I will update the post - but I used plain vanilla yogurt

  13. what kind/brand of tomato sauce did you use?

  14. anonymous - I use whatever brand is on sale :) often just store brand tomato sauce. keep in mind that this is plain canned tomato sauce, not spaghetti sauce that has other ingredients mixed in with it.