tikka masala5
This is my favorite Indian dish that I would always order whenever going to an Indian restaurant. I love the flavors of the creamy sauce with tomato and other spices, with a little kick at the end. I used to buy prepared jars of sauce, that is, until I found this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen, and then played with it for a little while to fit my tastes. This recipe is very simple and I love all the spices and aromas that fill my kitchen while cooking. Because it’s fall, I decided to add some butternut squash to enhance the flavor, and have my husband eat a little more vegetables. I also recommend making your own garam masala. It’s a blend of ground spices that is used as a base of your sauce. Each Indian family will have its own recipe. Try to maneuver the spices in the direction you like. Once you make it the first time you can use it again and again. If you can’t find all the ingredients for garam masala you can buy a pre-packaged mix in most major grocery stores, or in specialty stores if they’re in your area.

Serving: 4
Preparation: 30 minutes (plus 10 more minutes if you are making your own garam masala)
Cooking : 45 minutes
Calories: 450 without rice

Spice Marinade for the chicken:
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of table salt
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
½ cup of non fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon of canola oil
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger

Masala Sauce:
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 medium size onion, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger
1 fresh Serrano peppers, diced (remove the seeds depending on how much spice you like)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of garam masala
1 can (28 ounces/780 ml) of crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup of heavy cream/cooking cream of 35%
¼ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped and few leaves for decoration
1 butternut squash, cut into cubes

Garam Masala:
5 tablespoons of coriander seeds
3 tablespoons of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of black cumin seeds
2 tablespoons of cloves
1 tablespoon of cardamom (crush each pod and take out the seed)
8-10 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of dry ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

On a non-stick skillet heat all the spices except for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg for about 3 minutes until spices will get a little brown. Stir occasionally in order not to burn it. Then transfer the spices into a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind into fine powder. Keep it in a sealed jar.

First, start with marinating the chicken in the dry spices. Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle the chicken breasts on both sides. Rub the spices onto the chicken and put it aside in the fridge for 20 minutes. If you have more time keep it refrigerated for 1 hour.
In a separate bowl stir the yogurt and canola oil with garlic and ginger. After 20 minutes, using tongs, dip each breast and remove the excess of yogurt mixture and transfer the chicken onto a wire rack. Turn the oven to high broil and place the rack in the upper middle position. Make sure the wire rack is on the baking sheet so that any dripping will not cause smoke in your oven. Broil the chicken for 20-30 minutes. Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. When the chicken is ready it should show 160F degrees.
While the chicken is in the oven you can start making the sauce.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the tablespoon of canola oil and add the onion. Cook until a light golden, stirring often for about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic, grated ginger and diced chili and garam masala, stir for another 30 seconds, then add tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes. This is when all the spices will start releasing their fragrance and oils.

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Add chopped butternut squash, crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt and bring it to boil on medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.


When the chicken is ready, take it out and let it rest for 3 minutes. Then cut into slices and transfer it to the sauce. Stir so that all the chunks of chicken are coated with sauce. There is no need to simmer the chicken in the sauce, just stir it in. At the end add chopped cilantro and taste for salt or pepper.
I recommend serving it with basmati rice.

tikka masala1

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