Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala For Dummies

Chicken Hakuna Matata? Chicken Tickle Me Silly?

No, folks, it's Chicken Tikka Masala, an amazing Indian dish involving chicken cooked in a buttery tomato sauce. It is rich and flavorful with spices, but isn't hot spicy. Who wouldn't like that?

I have had it before at Indian restaurants and found it to be the perfect blend of warmth and comfort mixed with exotic and exciting. So I tried to figure out how to make it on my own. FAIL.

Dozens of recipes with 22+ ingredients later, I finally said "Aww, hell no!"

That is NOT how we do things here at Cooking for One. Instead, I will take this opportunity to show you how to introduce exotic new flavors into your home cooking using delicious store bought aids. In this case, a Tikka Masala sauce from the grocery store jazzed up with some homemade touches. Give it a try!

And remember: there is no shame in combining store bought products with fresh ingredients. After all, Sandra Lee has made a living out of it.

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 onion. Adds delicious fresh flavor and crunch.
  • 1 cup frozen peas. No need to thaw. The peas add a nice pop of color and texture.
  • 1/2 jar Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce. You can find this in the international aisle of your grocery store. I promise.

  • Olive oil
  • Basmati rice. This delicious, nutty flavored rice is the secret to soaking up great Indian food. Prepare as much as you'd like according to the directions on the container.
Hah! I managed to turn a 22 ingredient recipe into just 6! Okay, so I cheated a little. But you can too :)


Start preparing your basmati rice according to the package directions so it will be ready when you are done with the chicken.

Cut up your chicken into bite sized pieces and dice up your onion.

Heat a skillet over medium high and drizzle with some olive oil. Put your onions in the skillet for a few minutes until they become soft and translucent.

Add your chicken pieces to the skillet and cook until brown on all sides, but not necessarily cooked all the way through.

Add your simmer sauce to the skillet and, well, let it simmer! Should take only take about 5-10 minutes til the sauce is nice and thick and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

When there are just a couple minutes left, add your frozen peas so they can thaw for a bit in the hot sauce.

That's it! Once the peas are thawed, spoon your basmati rice into a bowl and top it with the chicken and delicious, flavorful sauce. Much cheaper than restaurant bought and much faster than making it from scratch, this recipe is the perfect way to capture a tasty Indian dish. Enjoy!


  1. I love it! That's what i call being resourceful.

  2. This is another delicious version if you have a bit more time. Definitely worth it if you do!

    Chicken Tikka Masala

    1 cup plain yogurt
    1 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (I substitute paprika for the cayenne--cayenne is just a bit too spicy for my taste)
    2 teaspoons black pepper
    1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (I left it out and it was still delicious)
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    Combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for one hour (I cute the chicken into cubes before marinating. Makes it a little more manageable when cooking). Grill or cook chicken in frying pan. Discard marinade

    1 tablespoon butter
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 8-oz can tomato sauce
    1 cup cream
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro

    Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for one minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice.

    Recipe courtesy of "My Kitchen Cafe"