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Tikka Masala: Home Cooking Dish of the month (March 2013)

This was another close vote, and Tikka Masala won by just a couple of votes. If you'd like to look at the voting thread, click here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/891851

This month we'll be cooking the dish that claims the title of the most frequently ordered dish nationwide in the UK. There are so many varied recipes, it should be an interesting and exciting month.

As usual, you are invited to use published recipes, old favorites, or a recipe you've invented. Please describe your recipe, share your source, and your outcome. Photos are always encouraged. Please remember to paraphrase any recipes that are not your own; verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. After a month of amazing risotto dishes, I'll be serving Tikka Masala without rice of any kind.

    This vegetarian version includes potatoes (which I'm going to exclude-need a starch break) but cabbage (which was my nomination originally) and a few more vegetables should work out fine. I only plan to serve homemade onion Naan with the dish.
    http://melissaraydavis.hubpages.com/h...

    I can't wait to read all the varied ways you prepare this specific dish when most menus focus mainly on the chicken preparation.

    Thanks LN for all your efforts!

    5 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Question regarding coriander seed. I have never cooked with it. Nor have I knowingly tasted it. I know...I KNOW. I have that cilantro-tastes-like-soap issue, but just read somewhere that the seeds bear little resemblance flavor wise. Someone said it was somewhat citrusy. How would you describe it's taste? I am going to get some CTM next time I'm in the "city." I'm in a rural area rich in Mexican, Italian and Portuguese culture but lacking in Asian food sources aside from Chinese take out. I'd be grateful for any descriptions. Also, will I find good quality South Asian spices like coriander at the supermarket or should I check out Penzy's?

      1. re: ItalianNana

        The taste of coriander seeds bears NO resemblence to coriander leaf, aka cilantro. None. Yes, I would describe it as somewhat citrusy, like something that could go with a pumpkin pie. It's in that camp of spices for me, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace. Sort of warmish and sort of but not really sweetish neighborhood. I hope this at least resembles something that makes sense. :P

        You could try an Asian market if you have one nearby. Generally, spices can be had for relatively less money at them, and they're usually fresher. If not, a supermarket is fine as is Penzeys or other mail-order places.

        1. re: ItalianNana

          I can't say for certainty if coriander seed lacks the specific compound that offends genetic cilantro haters, but it definitely tastes far different from the herb. It is a warm floral flavor with citrusy, almost lemon like overtones. Summery and fresh are other words that come to mind.

          Most supermarkets carry coriander seed, but as LMAshton mentions, it is going to cost more. Mexican cuisine also makes use of coriander, so you might try checking out your local mercado.

          1. re: JungMann

            Jung,

            Argh *head smack* I never thought about the Mexican spice aisle. I buy everything from chili powder to cinnamon to oregano there at MUCH cheaper prices. I'm sure the coriander will be there. Thx!

            1. re: ItalianNana

              Apologies just saw your question this morning. Glad it was answered for you.

      2. I'm excited because I need to learn how to make this instead of buying a six dollar jar of Tiger Tiger sauce. My recent attempt was a miserable failure so please bring it on Hounds! Chicken is the primary protein but we like a nice veggie version as well.

        1. parking my lawn chair in the thread, to see what recipes come up! DH gave me a set of Indian spices for my birthday and I'm DYING to learn to use them. :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: jujuthomas

            Right beside you with the lawn chair. I always thought this had to be cooked in a tandoor oven so have never contemplated trying to make it myself.

            1. re: Frizzle

              Pulling up my lawn chair next to frizzle and jujuT. Please help yourself to my cooler of chilled beverages.

              Wherever this virtual beach is located, I hope it's warmer than it is in the Twin Cities right now! We're expecting a half a foot of snow today!

              Seriously, though, I LOVE tikka masala and would love a little inspiration to try to cook it on my own.

              ~TDQ

          2. I posted a couple weeks ago about a successful chicken tikka masala that I made using this recipe from Cook's Illustrated:

            http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-ti...

            I did a few things differently from the recipe:
            - I chopped the chicken breasts into large chunks before applying the spice rub.
            - I refrigerated the chicken for two days before cooking (that was just how my schedule worked out).
            - I used red chile flakes in lieu of serrano chile.
            - I used my immersion blender to make the sauce smoother.
            - I only used 1/2 cup of cream.

            I highly recommend this recipe for those looking to jump into this month's HCDOM - I may make it again myself!

            18 Replies
            1. re: aching

              aching,

              I was going to check CI for this too. It's my experience that Chris and crew are usually light handed with exotic spices in ethnic dishes. I'm less concerned with being "authentic" in this new venture than I am trying to educate my palate a bit! I do like spicy HEAT though, so I'll be apt to enjoy recipes that include more chili powder and less of the spices I enjoy in baking. Does that even make sense?

              1. re: ItalianNana

                It's interesting that you should say that, because I do remember thinking at the time that I would use MORE spices the next time - so if you prefer less spices, this would probably be good for you as written. The heat of course is adjustable to your taste - I like it spicy, but it upsets my husband's stomach so I have to resist the urge!

              2. re: aching

                aching, question about this one. I'm thinking about making this one but am wondering on the serving sizes. I will be the only one eating it, and I'm most interested in only having 4 servings max (1 dinner and 3 lunches). Do you think as written it is 4 servings or is it really closer to the 6? Might be worth to cut it in half maybe? Based on the amount of chicken it calls for I'd think it's closer to 6.

                1. re: juliejulez

                  If it helps at all, the Serious Eats recipe posted below also claims it is for 4-6 servings, but it calls for 5 lbs of chicken instead of the 2 that this one calls for. I think it would be safe to assume four servings.

                  1. re: Kontxesi

                    Hmm yeah. That one uses bone-in chicken. Just seems 32oz is a lot of chicken for 4 people, although I guess it does cook down to about 6oz per person. I guess I'm just nervous to make a huge amount since I'm not even sure if I'll like it :)

                    1. re: juliejulez

                      The one time I made Tikka Masala a few years ago, I was scolded by my son and his girlfriend for using bone-in chicken. I made the decision because I think that it is more flavorful that way; they viewed it as not being authentic - ?

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Interesting. At most of the restaurants I've ordered Tikka Masala it comes bone in unless you ask for no bone (and then you wind up with only white meat).

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Ugh, only white meat!!!!

                          I think maybe they were remembering the take-out stuff they got in London - ?????

                        2. re: sandylc

                          In desi cuisine, bone-in and skinless is the way to cook chicken in just about every application. Chicken skin is considered undesirable, but bones are recognised as providing flavour.
                          So nothing inauthentic about that, and scolding parents who are feeding you is most transgressively inauthentic thing in South Asian culture :)

                          However, how "authentic" CTM itself is, is a whole 'nother discourse, and whether you are trying to be authentic to restaurant standards to ro cultural standards :)

                          hth

                          1. re: sandylc

                            My understanding is that the word "tikka" refers to a boneless piece of meat (not necessarily chicken).

                      2. re: juliejulez

                        I think four servings is pretty accurate. If I remember correctly, my husband and I had it for dinner one night (generous helpings), and there was one serving leftover for lunch the next day.

                        1. re: aching

                          OK thanks! I can't do more than 4 servings of ANYTHING these days, even if it's the best thing ever... I just get sick of it! :)

                          1. re: juliejulez

                            I was going to say that I also think it would freeze well - although on second thought, would the cream be problematic? For sure you could freeze it before adding the cream.

                            1. re: juliejulez

                              I am the same JJ, get tired of leftovers however delicious very quickly. I would definitely half it and 16 oz of chicken cooked ina sauce will make a dinner and two lunches for me with rice and a side of veg.

                              1. re: herby

                                Yeah last night I made a chicken dish using 18oz of raw chicken (cooked down to about 14) and it was plenty for 4 servings for me once mixed in with rice etc, so I think I'll give it a go and half it.

                                Going on the menu for Monday night!

                        2. re: aching

                          I am going to try to make this night, but my power is out. I have a gas stove that we can light with a match, but I don't think we can manually light the oven.

                          I kinda need to make it today, since I'll lose the chicken if it stays in the fridge much longer. Any ideas for doing the chicken on the stove-top?

                          1. re: Kontxesi

                            I had my wisdom teeth out Tues so I am also waiting before I do this dish.

                            You can absolutely fake chicken tikka on the stove top. You put a little oil in the pan and lay your marinated chicken pieces in a deep pot that has a lid.

                            You put on high heat first then lower to medium high heat once the chicken is in and close the lid, opening every few minutes to turn the chicken. Don't stir, just turn, and don't over crowd the chicken. The marinade browns a bit and dries up and it even looks like a tandoori or oven chicken tikka.

                            You just do this to cook your chicken and then set it aside and proceed with your recipe.

                        3. Ooo yay this will be fun! I've never made tikka masala before but I've been interested to try it.

                          1. *finding a seat in the front row so I can ask frequent, novice questions without raising my voice*

                            I have never eaten in an Indian restaurant nor ordered an Indian dish. (I'll wait til you use the smelling salts.) Never been a fan of warm spices in savory dishes, in general, I'm skeert of anything cilantro-ish and tumeric smells funny. BUT, I'm really excited to experiment with a brand new group of flavors and hope you will be patient with me as I stick my toe in the Ganges. What spices should I order up right away?

                            19 Replies
                            1. re: ItalianNana

                              http://melissaraydavis.hubpages.com/h...

                              The ingredient list from the recipe I'll be trying should provide some general spice guidance.

                              I'm learning too. I've eaten Indian food for decades, prepared by Indians and restaurant owners. My own home Indian cooking has a long way to go. But, I adore shopping in Indian markets. So if you happen to have an Indian market nearby, I highly recommend a visit.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                HillJ

                                I will take your "novice" status at your word. But I have a hunch you would be considered a guru to many of us! :-D

                                1. re: ItalianNana

                                  Too kind and way too generous :)
                                  This month is going to be fun!

                              2. re: ItalianNana

                                ItalianNana, I'm an indian cooking novice too, and I've only eaten indian food twice in restaurants :) But I liked what I had so I've been saving recipes for awhile. So, this month I'm finally going to dive in. From what I can tell, garam masala, coriander and turmeric are the main ones. Apparently you can make your own garam masala out of cumin, ground coriander, ground cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I'm just going to buy it though :)

                                1. re: juliejulez

                                  Julie - well, we can encourage each other. I am tempted to try my hand at mixing my own garam masala so I can use a light hand on the spices I may have to acquire a taste for. But, I'm hoping there will be other Indian newbies like us as well as some experts to play with this month. :-)

                                  1. re: ItalianNana

                                    I'm an Indian food newbie as well... I've eaten it a few times, but only cooked it once and that was not terribly successful.

                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                      Are any of you Indian food newbies familiar with 660 Curries? It was a COTM not too long ago. Recipes are neither diffcult nor intimidating, lots of info on spice mixtures, etc. Here is a link to reporting threads:

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871611

                                      1. re: herby

                                        The link herby provided offers a bit of insight from CH's about spices and spice blends for dishes of this nature when 660 Curries was a COTM. But the dish is not really covered enough to assist us here.

                                        I've not made an true/authentic tikka masala at home. Even following recipes, the results do not replicate what I've enjoyed in restaurants. But, it's the flexibility of the dish that appeals to me. I hope we have many variations of spice ideas to learn from this month.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          That is true, HillJ, that 660 Curries is not helpful with tikka masala advice and I meant my post to be of a general "get to know Indian spicies" resource and not specifically about Tikka Masala.

                                          1. re: herby

                                            I hope you didn't misunderstand me. On this thread, like you, I've provided one version of a homemade spice blend I've used and one recipe (by example) that I hoped would be discussed further as I am also learning. Like many have said, this dish has so many variations. cj's post on technique is very interesting.There is a ton of general information to get to know Indian cookery; spices included on the web. I'll be happy if I can become a better tikka masala cook! I do suffer from spice overload :) when it comes to learning a new but complex dish.

                                        2. re: herby

                                          herby,

                                          That sounds like a good source for me and others who know next to nothing about Indian cooking in general. It's amazing to realize how I've taken for granted the things I know about Mexican or Italian cooking for instance. Just basic things like being comfortable with spice combinations to enhance a dish...in a way that's typical of the region AND will please our family. I know nada about Indian and that's why I am really excited about finally taking the plunge. I wonder if I should try a basic Tikka Masala recipe first or order it in a resto? I have no frame of reference. :-)

                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                            Tasting a tikka masala is actually an excellent idea. Are you sure you'll enjoy it? Great way to find out. And, the owners can help identify what you're tasting spice wise too.

                                            Great suggestion.

                                            1. re: ItalianNana

                                              +1 on tasting before making. I love Indian food, cook it often, have several cookbooks and Indian friends with whom to consult when I get stuck. I love chicken tikka (cooked in tandoor oven) and don't really see a point of putting it in a sauce but each to its own :)

                                              I found an interesting recipe in The Accidental Vegetarian for eggplant tikka (there is also eggplant tikka masala recipe) - it is cooked under the broiler and I am curious to try it.

                                              Now I wonder if we are allowed to report on tikkas or only tikka masalas - LN, kindly clarify.

                                              1. re: herby

                                                herby: either on this thread or a new one, can you please share the eggplant tikka masala recipe? That sounds intriguing, and I grow eggplant, so always looking for new recipes. TIA.

                                                1. re: pine time

                                                  Here you go, Pine Time :) The recipe is from The Accidental Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer.

                                                  Toss 2 lbs eggplant cut into chunks with vegetable oil and salt and cook on hot griddle pan until grill marks are achieved.
                                                  Make marinade by combining the following:
                                                  1/2C yoghurt
                                                  juice of 1 lime
                                                  2 garlic cloves, crushed
                                                  1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
                                                  1T ground coriander
                                                  1t of each: ground cumin, garam masala, paprika
                                                  Coat eggplant pieces with the marinade, thread on wooden skewers and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Cook under a hot broiler, basting with butter and lemon juice and turning when golden. And here you have eggplant tikka!

                                                  To make it into eggplant tikka masala, make the sauce.
                                                  Blend in FP:
                                                  1 onion
                                                  5 garlic cloves
                                                  3-5 red chiles
                                                  and fry in 3T peanut oil over low heat until golden, about 7 min
                                                  Blend in FP:
                                                  1 bunch of cilantro leaves
                                                  1.5-inch piece of ginger
                                                  5 plum tomatoes
                                                  Add to the cooked onion mixture and continue cooking until almost all liquid has evaporated, 15 min. Stir in spices:
                                                  1T ground coriander
                                                  2t ground cumin
                                                  1t paprika
                                                  2t ground fenugreek
                                                  1t garam masala
                                                  salt to taste
                                                  Cook briefly and stir in 1/3C yoghurt. Add 2/3C milk, bring to a boil and simmer for 5min.

                                                  Lay 2 skewers of eggplant on the plate and spoon some sauce over. Garnish with cilantro and serve with naan or rice.

                                                  Let us know if you make it and I will do likewise.

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    Thanks, herby. I'll have to buy some eggplant, but will also have plenty of home-grown by early summer!

                                        3. re: ItalianNana

                                          Well I did it! Had my first taste of Indian food from a small Indian resto. Got an order of CTM to go, which was not the original plan but life intervenes...

                                          It was delicious, tender chicken, creamy sauce and warm spices. I had a couple of bites and immediately put it away and made some basmati rice to go with it. I don't know how "typical" this version was but at least I have some sort of frame of reference for cooking the dish. I would like it hotter, spice wise. The amounts of warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom and maybe clove or allspice was a little more than I would choose, but I suspect this will grow on me. Can't wait to settle on a recipe and start rattling pans! This is so much fun. :-D

                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                            How cool is that! Good for you. Can't wait to hear about your first recipe experience.

                                        4. re: juliejulez

                                          For the newbies, a suggestion: pan-toast those spices (garam masala--homemade or store-bought, cumin, coriander). I prefer a hot cast iron skillet, but any will do. But be very vigilant--they can go from lovely roasty to burnt very quickly (and allow for carry-over heat once you remove them from the pan).

                                      2. I've only begun eating Indian food in the last three years or so, but it has been YUMMMY. Looking forward to this one.

                                        1. OK CHounders...

                                          I found a recipe that sounds very easy to like for a Masala (recipe) Chicken (me) but it has no coriander, cardamom or garam masala.

                                          It has: lemon juice, cumin, ground cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fresh ginger, jalapeño, fresh garlic, paprika and cilantro. (which I would use as an optional garnish)

                                          Are there some spices that would be considered necessary to qualify as MASALA? LNightshade? HillJ? Anybody?

                                          26 Replies
                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                            So true ItalN, the spice list varies quite a bit. Even garam masala spice mix is prepared many ways.

                                            So, I typically decide on a recipe based on the availability of ingredients, my preference to heat/spice level and which protein/vegetables I want to make. This chicken TM primer is really step by step:

                                            http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/06/th...

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              Thank you for this, hillj. I swept that recipe directly into my pepperplate account.

                                              OK, I hate to be a goof, but in his step by step, he says that the grill is the best way to go, but the second best is a grill pan followed by some time in the broiler. When I look at the actual recipe, step 5 is "to cook on the grill" and step 6 is "to cook under the broiler". I assume that he wants you to choose either step 5 or step 6... But, weirdly, there's no mention of a grill pan in step 6... Am I missing something? What do you think he means?

                                              It's sub-freezing her in the Twin Cities today and we're expecting a half a foot of snow today. Our snow blower is sitting at the ready on our patio where the grill usually sits. No chance of using the grill for me in March! Gotta roll with plan B for now!

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                When I made this the first time using shrimp I turned on the grill when I made it the 2nd time with chicken I used the broiler in my toaster oven. I think he means either or...and that's just what I did TDQ.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  Thank you, HillJ, that's sort of how I read it, too, that it's an either step 5 or step 6 scenario. There seems to be much ado about the grill pan, though...

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    HillJ - did you like the Kenji recipe?

                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                  HillJ

                                                  Great resource - thanks! My goal is to narrow the likely recipes down to 2 or 3 by this week-end. Then I hope to actually cook Tikka Masala by mid month, allowing lots of time to discuss, tweak and do a second one!

                                                  1. re: ItalianNana

                                                    My pleasure. I am looking forward to hearing how you like the dish!

                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                    HillJ,

                                                    Yeah, I just re-read the J. Kenji Lopez CTM primer you referenced and I'm going to do his recipe with slightly less salt and lemon juice per some commenters. I'd like some heat though. What can I use that will amp it up without conflicting with other ingredients? I see I still need a couple of things, so I won't likely get to this until next week. Which kind of paprika should I use?

                                                    Update: Duh, I'll just adjust the cayenne pepper.

                                                  3. re: ItalianNana

                                                    Garam Masala Spice Mix
                                                    4 tbsps coriander seeds
                                                    1 tbsp cumin seeds
                                                    1 tbsp black peppercorns
                                                    1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shahjeera)
                                                    1 ½ tsps dry ginger
                                                    ¾ tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)
                                                    ¾ tsp cloves
                                                    ¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)
                                                    ¾ tsp crushed bay leaves

                                                    I toast all the ingredients, except the dry ginger, together in a dry pan over very low heat pan. Then I grind everything together and proceed to the recipe.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      Thats a good GM Mix HillJ, but I was taught that the ratio of coriander to cumin seeds (or powder) should always be 2:1, as because coriander serves mostly as a filler in the spice blend and mostly tends to dull the affects (aroma) of the other spices, when used in higher proportions. Fresh Ginger can be used in lieu of dry powder. Just my 2 cents.

                                                      1. re: Chowshok

                                                        Chowshok, I think for a guidepost its fine. I've adjusted spice blends before too...really depends what I'm craving flavor wise and how much of x spice I have on hand. Thanks for the suggestions!

                                                    2. re: ItalianNana

                                                      Hi ItalianNana
                                                      I'm by no means an expert in Indian cookery, but I have travelled in India quite a bit, and I have had some good experiences cooking Indian at home.
                                                      Generally masala is used in two contexts, a spice mix that you put together or a dish flavoured with that spice mix. For example if you toss some cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom together and grind it up after toasting you would have a masala of sorts. If you then flavoured a stewed chicken dish with it you would then have chicken masala of sorts. The above noted mix is just for illustration purposes. Typically though tikka masala will include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, a bit of clove, and some elements of heat and acid (ie. tomatoes and chilies). The list of spices can be long or short depending on how nuanced you want the dish to be.

                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                        Agree about the variations in the spices. I doubt many would buy a jar of "French Seasoning" (yeah, I know "Italian seasoning" exists) and use it on all dishes to create French food. Same, to me, holds true for garam masala...I vary the combinations based on the dish I'm making as well as the other items on the menu, otherwise it ends up all tasting the same. (That's one reason why I also don't use pre-mixed curry powders.)

                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                          Also why I refuse to use pre-mixed spices mixes. I don't use garam masala mixes or curry powders. I'd rather mix my own spices according to the dish I'm making.

                                                        2. re: delys77

                                                          delys77,

                                                          I appreciate the information. I feel fortunate to have found a place where so many knowledgable, generous CHounders gather. I've learned more interesting things about cooking and eating in the last few weeks than in the last year!
                                                          -Nana

                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                            That's fabulous ItalianNana, I'm glad to hear it.

                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                            No, there are no mandatory ingredients! That's going to be the interesting thing this month, there are so many possibilities. Garam masala is a mixture of spices, just like curry is a mixture of spices. You can make all of your own spice mixtures, which would be the more authentic way to do it.
                                                            I look forward to reading about everyone's adventures!

                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                              Dropping in briefly to say that garam masala means a spice mix of warm spices (garam=hot, masala=spice mix). These are cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black peppercorns, and a few others of that ilk (e.g. fennel, mace, star anise) if liked.

                                                              But there are several regional variations in garam masalas, which use varying items and quantities from the list above. Some use cumin+coriander, which add an earthier flavor, others do not.

                                                              Personally I prefer the garam masala that does not use cumin+coriander, but add those as needed in the recipe. This makes the garam masala mix more versatile. I toast and grind garam masala every few weeks and keep it in an air tight container and use as needed.

                                                              So, there are some mandatory ingredients for garam masala, i.e. some combination of the warm spices. Google for a recipe you like.

                                                              I personally dislike the use of the term "curry" in Indian cuisine, and the less said about "curry powder" the better. But that genie is well and truly out of the bottle.

                                                              Every dish has a) a specific name, and b) a spice mix specific to that dish. What would one even do with a bottle of curry powder, when what is needed is chana masala, sambar powder, rasam powder, etc etc to make chana masala (here the spice mix and the dish have the same name), sambar, and rasam respectively etc etc?

                                                              1. re: Rasam

                                                                I was attempting to dismiss the idea that one had to buy "garam masala" or "curry powder" to complete a dish. Are you saying that specific spice mixtures are required to make Tikka Masala? I actually thought that tikka masala was a dish with more Pakistani influences, and one with endless variations.

                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  Hi LNightshade: I am not clear on your question.

                                                                  1. Some dishes do require garam masala. You don't have to buy it, you can easily make it at home. Find a garam masala recipe that you think you will like, toast and grind, and there you are.

                                                                  2. The cuisine of South Asia is very regionally diverse, and parts of Pakistan and North-West India share culinary traditions. This dish is one such, though it is said to have actually begun in restaurants either in Glasgow or in Delhi/Punjab.
                                                                  For this dish, you begin with chicken tikkas (pieces of tandoor-roasted chicken) and then simmer that in a tomato based sauce.
                                                                  Both steps need the appropriate spice mixes: tandoori masala to make the tandoori chicken, and the other spices including garam masala, to make the tomato sauce.
                                                                  You can make these spice mixtures at home. There are recipes for these that are suitable for a home cook rather than a fully equipped restaurant.

                                                                  3. There are lots of variations in recipes for a) in the specific masalas involved, and b) the dish itself. So you will be able to find a version that works for you.

                                                                  Not sure if I answered you?

                                                                  1. re: Rasam

                                                                    Rasam, what is the difference between CTM and murgh makhani? From your description, the dishes sound interchangeable.

                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                      Jungmann: I don't know the answer myself. I thought you would know! Maybe LuckyF or someone else knows.

                                                                      I have read in some sources that these two are interchangeable, and in others that the masala of the sauce is distinctive, that MM has lots of makkhan/malai (butter and cream) and CTM does not so the tomato is more pronounced in that. Also MM has kasoori methi while CTM does not, but there are so many variations in both recipes that who can say definitively?

                                                                      Another possible difference, that CTM needs the tandoor-cooked tikkas to start with, while MM does not: you can just brown the marinaded chicken in a pan and then simmer in the sauce, and the marinade is also different?

                                                                      1. re: Rasam

                                                                        I might be of Pakistani extraction but I am a total ABCD when it comes to these two dishes. When I make MM, I don't use kasoori methi (though I will likely include it in the sabzi that pair with MM) and I pre-cook the tikkas. The sauce has a tendency to break if the tikkas aren't precooked and benefits from the charred flavor of grilled or broiled tikka. So in the end, it appears maybe the murgh makhani I've been making all these years is actually CTM!We may not get a definitive answer unless we flag down LuckFatima.

                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                          I have never made CTM and have probably only had it a handful of times.

                                                                          It is not a dish of any regional Indo-Pak cuisine, though it certainly has made its way back to the subcontinent and people cook it at home as a novelty from book and TV show recipes.

                                                                          Even butter chicken strikes me as a very restauranty dish, though I have read it is based on a traditional Punjabi dish, I have also heard it was created at Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi as a way to use up leftover chicken tikka.

                                                                          I have an Indian butter chicken recipe replete with orange food coloring, as that how it is served in Indian restaurants in India :) It's pretty good and I haven't made it in a few years so I might make it this month if we are not restricted to CTM. It does have qasoori methi in it.

                                                                          1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                            I looked in 660C.

                                                                            I really love his Paneer Makhani recipe (p 293). It has the simplest ingredients and yet the most satisfying flavour so I now only make PM that way. It as no onion/ginger/garlic, no garam masala. Only tomato puree, with cumin, red chilli, a little sugar, salt, and kasoori methi. Lots of butter and some cream. Simmer, put in the paneer cubes (I never bother to pre fry), and there you are. No toasting-grinding-chopping anything, couldn't be easier. Comes out so complex and tangy you'll never believe how simple it was to throw together.

                                                                            He also has a CTM recipe on p 147. I can't compare it with other recipes out there because I have never made Paneer Tikka Masala. But this CTM is more complex than his PM recipe. You marinade and broil the chicken tikkas first with all the masalas appropriate to that step. Then make the sauce, with tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper, almonds, raisins, diced, browned and pureed. Then spice it with salt, red chilli powder and Punjabi Garam Masala. Use cream, and just a little ghee for browning the veggies (no butter).

                                                                            So right away the two flavor profiles in his book are different. There seem to be so many variations of both these recipes (CTM and MM=murgh makhani) that I have no idea where the boundaries of these dishes are if any, and the issue of "authenticity" is quite intractable.

                                                                            Bottom line: make what appeals to you :)

                                                          2. OK here's a question. If you are doing chicken tikka masala, served w/ rice or naan, what vegetable side dish would be good?

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                              I'd stew spinach, cauliflower or zucchini in the dish, not on the side. The side is usually the rice and naan.

                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                Vegetables on the side is easily too much. But you must serve raita on the side. It complements the dish very nicely, and gives the diner a chance to cool the palate if the sauce is a little hot. A raita can be as simple as plain yoghurt with diced cucumber and minced garlic. I like it with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, a little salt and a little green chilli in addition to the cucumber and garlic.

                                                                1. re: cjohansen

                                                                  I agree. Raita is an essential accompaniment for me.

                                                                2. re: juliejulez

                                                                  I think roasted broccoli is the perfect accompaniment.

                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                    Most peopledon't make Chicken Tikka Masala at home -- it's usually a restaurant/party/wedding food. Aloo gobi and tava sabzi (various veggies roasted dry with spices, sizzled on a flat griddle or tava) are the usual veggie offerings with CTM at a party.

                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                      I'm still not quite sure what CTM is since I've encountered everything from a creamy makhani murghi to a bright orange chicken salan presented as "chicken tikka masala."

                                                                      But either way, sides can be as decadent or healthful as you want. If you're doing a creamy CTM, maybe you'll want something light and acidic like stir fried okra, spiced beetroot, carrots with fenugreek leaves or chickpeas with spinach. If you want something a little more substantial: peas with fenugreek cream or spinach and paneer would be nice. I'd try to do something with a little more texture, but fenugreek leaf is a nice complement to tomato-based sauces.

                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                        Edit: Moved reply to the main thread, as I originally tried to...

                                                                      2. Tikka Masala is one of my favorites. Here's some pointers I've picked up after cooking it many times.

                                                                        For that vibrant red color, use very ripe fresh tomatoes. Deep red plum tomatoes are best (but sadly unavailable to me at this time a year, cherry tomatoes are typically the best I can do around now). To avoid loosing color, cook them in big chunks (halved or quartered). Discard the skins as they loosen, and just let the tomatoes disintegrate.

                                                                        Second point in getting great color: Kashmiri chili. Either get some dried and pound them to a powder in a mortar, or get the powder. Kashmiri chili has amazing red color. If you can't get it, use some paprika with some cayenne, or some other red, pure chili powder available to you.

                                                                        Here's roughly how I do the sauce:

                                                                        For a great flavour base, start the sauce by caramelizing onions. I will typically use two medium onions, cook them on high for 5-ish minutes, add a pinch of salt, then let them go on medium low for 20-30 minutes. Then add garlic, ginger, fresh green chilies, along with a cinnamon stick, cloves and green cardamoms. Do not skip the cardamoms. Put in a bay leaf if you have. Allow a minute or so for the raw flavor of the garlic to cook out, then add tomatoes and some water. Simmer until the tomatoes disintegrate. Add toasted and powdered cumin and coriander seeds, kashmiri powder, and some garam masala.

                                                                        Pure the sauce if you want, but if you allow it to simmer long enough, the sauce will be a slightly lumpy almost-liquid-texture that is very nice. I usually take out the whole spices at this point. Add a little cream, but not too much. I like to finish the sauce off with Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves).

                                                                        1. I'm excited. Thanks LN for another nail-biting month!!

                                                                          My inspiration for nominating this dish came from a recent take-out purchase from a new Indian restaurant that seriously underwhelmed. It was so bitter. The chicken was tough and just sorry to be a part of the whole hot mess!

                                                                          I'd recently had an amazing TM in London and have been craving it ever since. For my first go at this, I think I'll try a recipe from one of my new cookbooks called A Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast. Also, I recently purchased a Jamie magazine and recalling a curry feature so I'll have a look in there for a recipe as well. My hope is to identify a "house recipe" for TM by the end of the month.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            Where did you have your amazing chicken tikka masala, Breadcrumbs? It really is the quintessential British "curry house" dish, but I rarely order it these days.

                                                                          2. Ok, learning so much already and haven't even lifted a pot!

                                                                            I bought myself the Indian Slow Cooker for Christmas and I see their is a Tikka Masala recipie in there. I've been putting off cooking from this book till I hit the spice store and get some basics. Anyone tried the recipie from the book or your thoughts on slow cooker Tm? Thanks

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: geminigirl

                                                                              This is slightly off-topic, but there is a Home Cooking thread about slow cooker books, and several people have reviewed recipes from the Indian Slow Cooker. I don't see any mention of the Tikka Masala recipe, but you might find the reviews interesting anyway:
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829403

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                Thanks,I had book marked it to go through after the spice shopping, which happened today finally (after doing damage at trader joes) ...so I really need try some of these recipes! Thanks

                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                  thanks for posting that link. I'm #3 on the list to get the Indian Slow Cooker cookbook from my library!

                                                                                2. re: geminigirl

                                                                                  Ok, tried this recipe for dinner tonight. Pretty easy to prepare with the crock pot....let the chicken marinate overnight and used all marinade in the dish. It cooked on high 7 hours, she recommends 6-8. It was a little dry, which I was kind of worried about, I'm thinking this would be good with dark meat or legs/thighs. I thought it was ok, hubby liked it more than me. I thought the sauce was a little grainy, not sure if that is typical or a result of all the yogurt. I'm not sure if I would make this exact recipe again, but I will try it with another non crock pot version. Thanks for pushing me out of my cooking comfort zone!

                                                                                3. http://akitchencanvas.wordpress.com/2...

                                                                                  I found this recipe for garam masala by chance this morning.

                                                                                  I thought it might be helpful. I think I will make the spice blend instead of buying it.

                                                                                  Still searching for the recipe for tikka masala that I will prepare this month. There are so many of them!

                                                                                  1. I found another Tikka Masala recipe that looks great from Leite's Culinaria:

                                                                                    http://pinterest.com/pin/283797213990...

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      That is essentially the same recipe as the the one from Cooks Illustrated, except that the ingredient quantities in this one have been modified to end up with a dish that serves 2 instead of 4-6.

                                                                                      1. re: Sam D.

                                                                                        Hah! That's good to know Sam. Thank-you!!

                                                                                    2. I found this recipe http://rasamalaysia.com/chicken-tikka... that doesn't call for garam masala. I don't like recipes that call for things like curry powder or garam masala since there's no way to tell *which* curry powder or garam masala or other spice mix will suit the flavour profile of the dish best, or which will clash abominably.

                                                                                      I need to buy a few things first, like yoghurt and tomatoes, before I can make it. I plan to replace the paprika with chilli powder since we like our heat. And I'm planning on reducing the amount of tomatoes and cream since that recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce, which is way way way way way way way too much for our tastes. I'll probably cut the tomatoes and cream in half. Oh, and the yoghurt for the marinade? That'll get cut in half as well since that much yoghurt will only lead to waste. I usually use about 1/4 cup of yoghurt with my spicy marinades for chicken, so I might just go with that. And I'll be using 1 kg (2 lbs) of cut up chicken pieces. But I'll keep the spices and seasonings the same. :P

                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                        Oh I love the recipes on that site LMA; I've had great success w them. Thanks so much for sharing this.

                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                          I love that site, too. :) I've gotten a few recipes from there that I love. :)

                                                                                        2. re: LMAshton

                                                                                          LMA

                                                                                          That recipe sounds right up my alley...no spices I'm not fond of. Thank you for the link. the RASAMALAYSIA sites looks terrific! One question, for anyone, what are cocktail tomatoes?

                                                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                            No idea. I'll be using canned tomatoes, whatever I can get. I wouldn't sweat that part. :) and happy to help. :)

                                                                                            1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                              I've never seen canned cherry tomatoes. I'll use petite diced. I find canned tomatoes to be superior to fresh for cooking, outside of the homegrown ones at the peak of summer.

                                                                                              1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                Agreed. Most tomatoes here have no flavor. At least canned ones do. I prefer using fresh, but this is one exception for me.

                                                                                                1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                  Harters, on the WFD thread, recently made mention of canned cherry tomatoes, and he's England, so i'm assuming it's a Brit thing...

                                                                                              2. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                Cocktail tomatoes are small round tomatoes. Good plum tomatoes will probably do just fine. If using canned, make sure you get some that only contain tomatoes and tomato juice. Cans containing citric acid typically does so because the tomatoes aren't properly ripe when going into the can. Salt is better to add yourself to remain in control.

                                                                                            2. Funnily enough, I just cooked the Chicken Tikka Masala from Modernist Cuisine the other day.

                                                                                              Unfortunately I can't find a link to a recipe, but it used chicken thigh and breast, marinaded in a light yoghurt-based marinade for 12 hours under vacuum, cooked sous vide (different temperatures for the breast and thigh) then pan seared in clarified butter. The sauce was reserved marinade, lime juice, shallots, chili, coriander and mint.

                                                                                              Really, really nice chicken tikka masala, and amongst the lightest I've had, due to the minimal amount of butter (which seems to be liberally used in restaurants locally). The use of annatto seeds and kashmiri chilli as colouring agents worked well - the only drawback to this one was the prep time and the longer cook time given that I only have one sous vide setup.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: LiamF

                                                                                                I'm curious - does annatto add flavor, or just color?

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                  I didn't notice the annatto's flavor in this - it was mostly a colouring agent. The colour was dominated by the kashmiri chilli, but the annatto deepened it slightly.

                                                                                                2. re: LiamF

                                                                                                  Thanks for the sous vide idea; I wouldn't have thought of it.

                                                                                                3. I decided to get started on tikka masala month by turning to the recipe cjohansen posted for inspiration.

                                                                                                  I took the shortcut of making my chicken tikka with Patak's tikka paste. That's how my father always made chicken tikka and though I've made the marinade from scratch before, I really like the vaguely sweet flavor tamarind lends to this paste. Once the breasts had marinated and broiled I got to work making the gravy by browning a diced onion in 4 tablespoons of butter, followed by 3 inches of grated ginger and 4 minced garlic cloves. For spices I used 4 cardamom pods and an inch of cinnamon, which I toasted in the butter briefly before adding a tablespoon of tomato paste and a cup of milk. To get a creamy texture without the fat, I pureed the gravy with a half teaspoon of xanthan gum before adding chopped plum tomatoes. I simmered the chopped tikkas in the gravy until they were cooked through and seasoned with salt and garam masala, serving the finished dish with dried fenugreek leaves.

                                                                                                  Overall very easy to make and quite tasty, though I think the gravy needed the whole cumin seed cjohansen had recommended.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                    While I've been told there's a sweet variety of tamarind, I'm under the impression it's not used for seasoning, it's eaten out of hand. Tamarind used for seasoning is usually quite sour. I haven't used patak's tikka paste, so have no idea what's going on there. I find it interesting that you describe it as sweet. And surprised, honestly.

                                                                                                    1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                      I don't mean to imply the Patak's paste is sweet like candy or the tamarind one eats out of hand. The tamarind is a souring agent and above all its flavor is sour to be sure, but it's a touch sweeter than what you would get using lemon or lime in its place. At least that's how it tastes to my palate.

                                                                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                        Ah, got it. Yeah, it doesn't have the edge that lemons or limes have.

                                                                                                    2. re: JungMann

                                                                                                      That looks wonderful JungMann. It's funny how many of the recipes I've been looking at call for "tikka masala paste." Is the tamarind the main difference between the purchased paste and your homemade recipe?

                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                        Technically I think Pataks makes a tandoori paste for bone in tandoori or bone out tikka (as my father explained to me when I was a young ABCD, tikka is a tandoori breast). They also make tikka masala, but I think that is for CTM gravy. I just did my Desi shopping today but I should have an opportunity to go to the Indo-Pak grocery in a couple weeks for produce and new ingredients.

                                                                                                        The spices are a bit different from what I have come to expect for homemade tikka since it includes mustard, but the tamarind struck me as a major difference from homemade recipes as Pakistani food does not often use tamarind. The citrus I use from scratch is usually lemon (which I will include with charred onions on the sizzling platter if serving chicken tikka as a course). Honestly at $2.50 a family sized bottle I will probably do a Pataks vs homemade to see how it compares soon.

                                                                                                        This month is starting to turn into a very interesting eye opener as the regional differences one usually encounters within South Asia are augmented by international variations.

                                                                                                    3. Chicken Meatball Tikka Masala from Food 52 Site

                                                                                                      I was looking for Tikka Masala recipes on EYB and I came across this online version that suited me well since I had all the ingredients on hand save for the coconut milk. I thought I'd give it a try since the recipe had good bones and I liked the idea of the meatball.

                                                                                                      I ground the chicken thighs and made some fresh breadcrumbs and added all the seasoning to the meatballs, then formed and baked off for 20 minutes.

                                                                                                      The sauce itself is a little different since it has shallot and mustard seed, but I actually found this added a nice effect to the finished sauce. The usual coriander, cumin, and chilli powder joined the aromatics for a brief sizzle and in goes the pureed tomato with some extra paste to give it more flavour. A touch of water and coconut milk (cream in my case) join the party and the sauce simmers for a bit until it has a final seasoning check and the meatballs go back in to heat through.

                                                                                                      Overall I would say this is a pretty good rendition. The meatballs are baked, so you don't get much of a browned flavour, but it does make the dish very very easy. The meatballs themselves have good texture and a nice flavour (especially like the hit of tomato paste might up that next time), and the sauce is nice and rich, with a touch of acidity and spice.

                                                                                                      If you like a saucy tikka masala I would double all the sauce ingredients and go a bit heavier on the spice (just a bit for my taste) as the dish was a touch too dry for my taste. I love mixing the sauce in with my rice or dipping naan in it, and this recipe only as you add about 1 cup of liquid in total, which I found a little too skimpy.

                                                                                                      Overall a good dish though.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      25 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                                                                          Looks great, I love the meatball idea!

                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                            Yeah I thought it was an interesting take since you get a flavoured meatball as well as a flavoured sauce. Also it's pretty economical given the breadcrumbs that stretch the meat a bit.

                                                                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                                                                              Nice photo too. The table runner is very pretty. I'm going to give your recipe suggestion a try with ground lamb and make meatballs from that. Maybe it will work out.

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                Thanks Hillj, the table runner is from Jaisalmer in India, we love it.
                                                                                                                Regarding the lamb, excellent suggestion!

                                                                                                          2. re: delys77

                                                                                                            I was looking at this recipe too and wondering how it would turn out. Thanks for your review! Looks lovely and if I make it would definitely folow your suggestion to double the sauce and up the spices.

                                                                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                                                                              Nice recipe. But it sounds more like a South Indian version of Meatball Korma than a Tikka Masala. North Indians /Pakistani's seldom use coconuts in their cuisine.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chowshok

                                                                                                                I thought that was very different as well. The general seasoning other than the cocounut milk seems relatively northern though. Either way, I replaced the coconut milk with cream.

                                                                                                                1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                  I assumed you meant coconut cream, not dairy cream. I like the idea of mustard seed in a cream sauce and the chicken meatballs are definitely a nice change.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                    A very reasonable assumption, I'll remember to be more specific.

                                                                                                              2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                Food 52 Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs

                                                                                                                Thanks for pointing this out, delys I never would have thought of CTM Meatballs, but I made these and we really enjoyed them. I took your suggestion and upped the sauce proportions. I subbed ground turkey for chicken and I did use coconut milk. I ended up supplementing some of the shallot with red onion because I ran out of shallots. I also upped the aromatics overall a bit. I ended up refrigerating them overnight in the sauce before we ate them.

                                                                                                                We thought this was really delicious! I served with a basmati pilaf, naan and spinach. Really enjoyed the aromatic hit from all the shallots/onion/ginger. Seemed like a very different dish than Chicken Tikka Masala to me. Much more pungent than the usual restaurant CTM, but a big hit with my family!

                                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                  I appreciate you giving this rec a try. I'm def. going to make it next week with ground lamb.

                                                                                                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                    So glad you guys liked it greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                  2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                    delys 77,

                                                                                                                    Thanks for sharing your dish and the great photo. That pan is gorgeous and shows off the TM so well. I appreciate your comment about the amount of sauce. We do like extra sauce/gravy in most dishes to go with rice. Whichever recipe I settle on I'll probably double it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                      Thanks so much ItalianNana, we bought the dish in India, I wish I had brought back more.

                                                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                      You've convinced me. This is on my list of things to make for next week or so. :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                        I made a version of this recipe for dinner last night, and I agree that it was delicious! I made the meatballs with ground turkey, and they were great, even on their own. I tinkered a lot with the sauce, including using fresh cherry tomatoes, and more than doubling the amount. I think the copious amounts of fresh ginger in both the meatballs and the sauce are key to their great flavors. I definitely will be making this one again.

                                                                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                                                                          Fresh cherry tomatoes, interesting, how did you find them in the dish. In my neck of the woods winter tomatoes, even cherries can be a bit mealy and don't break down very well.

                                                                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                            They were good! I used them because I had a container that had been sitting around for a week and I wanted to use them up. I did get impatient when a lot of them hadn't broken down after 10-15 minutes, so I pulled out my potato masher and helped the process along. It was actually very satisfying, kind of like popping bubble wrap.

                                                                                                                            1. re: aching

                                                                                                                              ha ha, that does sound pleasant. Might give something like that a try once we get some respectable tomatoes up here.

                                                                                                                        2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                          delys77, I thought I'd add the link since the recipe was so delicious!
                                                                                                                          http://food52.com/recipes/6198-chicke...

                                                                                                                          I was able to get a jump start on my attempt at this dish. As intended, I followed delys77's lead and deliciously inspiring results using ground lamb. I did use coconut milk as listed in the masala sauce since I have plenty on hand. What I love about a dish like TM is the sauce and over a strong flavored meat like lamb it's a winner in my house. Baking the prepared meatballs was super simple and with lamb took 15 mins. I'm planning on serving this with jasmine rice steamed in coconut milk with dried coconut slivers thrown in alongside onion naan and fried paneer finger-cut.

                                                                                                                          This month has been really inspiring, thanks all!

                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                            Fabulous HillJ, the menu sounds awesome.

                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                              I like the looks of this --thank you !

                                                                                                                            2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                              Thanks for this recipe! I'm going to try it tonight, subbing ground turkey since that's what I have in the house. I'll do gluten free naan on the side, since my husband can't have gluten (boo!). I've successfully used this Naan recipe before: http://www.food.com/recipe/gluten-fre... but might look around a little more.

                                                                                                                            3. The one I like to make is a variation on Ray Iyenvar's from 660 Curries... I use almond flour (ground almonds) instead of the sliced almonds, just because I always have it on hand... I toast it up the same way. Use dark raisins again because they're generally what I have on hand. Also, due to allergies, I use unsweetened almond milk instead of the yogurt, as a substitution in the marinade and at the end for the sauce. We skip the cilantro garnish because I'm not wild about it, and OH hates it.

                                                                                                                              I generally serve it was Palak Paneer with homemade paneer, and homemade naan and/or basmati rice.

                                                                                                                              We enjoy it quite a bit.

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                I've never had raisins in a tikka masala - but my Mum used to put them in her seventies curries, which I refused to eat!

                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                  I have never seen raisins or almonds in a Tikka Masala either - very interesting.

                                                                                                                                  I thought it was such a 'western curry' and that would explain it....

                                                                                                                                2. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                  Emme,

                                                                                                                                  I was enjoying your posts on an old appetizer thread last night. I've noticed you use almond flour a lot and just got my first package for a GF recipe. Anyway, I had to look up Palak Paneer and it looks good. I'm excited about trying Indian food. Not a cilantro fan either. DH and I both process the taste as soap.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                    i do use it a lot... the whole gluten free thing makes it a kitchen for staple for anything i'm cooking that i'm planning to eat. for some reason, my previous response to greedy girl never showed up...

                                                                                                                                    i marinate chicken pieces with almond milk mixed with ginger paste, garlic paste, cumin, coriander, garam masala, sea salt, pepper and turmeric.

                                                                                                                                    for sauce, i use earth balance or vegetable oil, i saute onions, red pepper, almond flour, raisins, crowding the pan until soft, but not burning the bottom. i deglaze with canned tomatoes and liquid. i puree the whole thing with garam masala, a little cayenne, almond milk and salt. i return to the heat and let simmer on low while i cook the chicken.

                                                                                                                                    i broil my chicken, generally small 1 - 1 1/2 inch pieces, for 3-4 minutes per side, then add to sauce and heat through.

                                                                                                                                3. Anybody with a good hint on where to find garam masala? I know most folks say it's better to make your own but I'm on a budget here so I'd prefer to just buy the mix. So far I've looked at Sprouts and my local supermarket, King Soopers, which is owned by Kroger... both in the spice section and their very limited indian section (which was mostly boxed mixes for rice dishes, and jars of chutney). Would Whole Foods have it? I could go to Penzey's but it's really out of the way. I wanted to make my tikka masala on Monday.

                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                    I've never seen garam masala outside an Indo-Pak market, but then again, I haven't looked very hard. A Google search suggested Whole Foods might carry it, otherwise Penzey's definitely does.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                      Whole Foods will have it. I'm really surprised Sprouts didn't - did you check the jarred spices, or just the bulk?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                        I only checked the jarred at Sprouts. I sat there staring at it for like 10 minutes to make sure I wasn't missing it. My Sprouts is kind of small so maybe that's why. Also where I live does not have a large Indian population so that could be part of it too. I'll try Whole Foods, there is one near my work... if that doesn't work, I guess I'll go to Penzey's. I thought of making my own of course, but like, my normal store, which is a very large, new store, doesn't even have ground cardamom.

                                                                                                                                        McCormick actually makes it, it comes up when I do a search for garam masala, but it was nowhere to be found. Frustrating!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                          I didn't know you had a Penzey's nearby - they really should have it if your Whole Foods doesn't.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                            Well it's not exactly close :) It's pretty out of the way for me, but I might even just go there instead of Whole Foods to guarantee I get it. It's nowhere near my house but it's sorta kinda close to work so I can go on Monday to get it, and make the dish as planned Monday night.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                              juliejulez,

                                                                                                                                              I feel like I'm following you on your search for garam masala. Hoping you find it tomorrow and cook your dish. I'm rooting you on!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                Well, I'm not going to make it tomorrow after all. I thought my SO would be out of town, but it looks like he's home this week, so I'm going to save it for when he's not here, so I can make it as hot as I'd like :) I'm still going to go on the quest sometime this week though.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                  Success! Garam Masala was found at Whole Foods for 3.99.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                    Woo hoo juliejulez! Just out of curiosity, does it give you a detailed list of ingredients?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                      You know I didn't look. I'll try to remember to look when I get home tonight.

                                                                                                                                    2. Goat Tikka Masala was on the menu today.

                                                                                                                                      I started off with a recipe from Alton Brown http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... but made a few adjustments. Yeah, I pretty much almost always make adjustments. :D

                                                                                                                                      Marinade
                                                                                                                                      - reduced the yoghurt in the marinade to 1/2 cup. I don't see the point in making a huge amount of marinade only to throw most of it out. At around 1/2 cup yoghurt for the marinade, there were only dribs and drabs left. I could probably further reduce it to 3/8 cup. I also used Greek yoghurt (whole milk), so nice and thick.
                                                                                                                                      - added about a tablespoon of dried chilli flakes

                                                                                                                                      Goat Tikka
                                                                                                                                      - don't have a grill or whatever, so I broiled the meat in the oven. I tried using a rack over a roasting pan, but the meat slices were too small and fell through, so that was a fail. I'll have to see if I can get a grilling rack or something else that will work better for next time.
                                                                                                                                      - I used 1 kg of goat meat (about 2.2 pounds). It's what I had.

                                                                                                                                      The sauce
                                                                                                                                      - reduced the tomatos to 14 oz instead of 28, reduced coconut milk from 1 cup to 1/2 cup coconut cream. His recipe produces a way way way too saucy dish for me. We just don't like curries that swim in huge amounts of sauce.
                                                                                                                                      - added two red chilllies
                                                                                                                                      - added about a tablespoon or so of chilli powder, increased black pepper to two teaspoons - because this is how we roll. :P
                                                                                                                                      - I used coconut oil because, honestly, that's just what I use in Sri Lankan/Indian curries unless the recipe specifically requires a different flavour.
                                                                                                                                      - I didn't have any cilantro leaves. :( Or mint. :( It would have been better with. Ah well. Next time.

                                                                                                                                      How'd it turn out? Good. :

                                                                                                                                      )

                                                                                                                                      We're still broken - can't tell if the salt or seasoning levels are fine or not. I think it was okay, but I can't fine tune this any further for our preferences until we're working properly again. (Dang cold.) But we could taste a bit of the heat.

                                                                                                                                      I'd make this again for sure. I might even specifically get lamb for this for next time, although the goat was perfectly fine. I'm looking forward to actually being able to taste it next time. Hopefully. :)

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                        I wish I could get my hands on goat meat. I never see it. Your dish sounds really super !

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          Where we buy our meat, we can *always* get goat, lamb, deer, black chicken, all sorts of fresh fish that I have no idea what they are... We can't get liver or gizzards or other offal, which is frustrating, nor do we have the selection of cuts that exist in Canada and the US and probably elsewhere. Ah well.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                            I can't find a Silkie either. Lamb and deer, most fish no issue but I'd love to find a butcher that really has some exciting meats.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                            HillJ, I'm not sure where you live, but is there a Mexican carniceria you could try? Sometimes they have goat.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                              jj, I can't find it while I'm in NJ. Do you have a specific recommendation for NJ?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                No, I've never even been to NJ, sorry! I just know the mexican carnicerias/groceries I've been to both in CA and in Chicago tend to have meats you can't find elsewhere. Goat is a common ingredient in some mexican dishes so that's why I was thinking they might be worth a shot.

                                                                                                                                                Also in Chicago, there was an Indian butcher on Devon (heavy Indian population neighborhood) that sold goat meat, along with other hard to find meats. I know you could buy live chickens there too :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah when I'm in CA I can find it easily. I've tried buying goat meat from the Indian community nearby and I found it tough and over priced...to my surprise actually. I usually have such a great experience at the Indian markets. But I haven't tried Mexican markets..thanks I'll give that a shot.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                    I simmer the heck out of my goat meat - otherwise, it's tough as well. I'm just used to that, I guess. I've only ever gotten tough goat meat, not by choice, but because that was what it all ended up being. But simmering it for an hour and a half works fine.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                            I would definitely try this. Which cut did you use? Typically I can only get cuts from the rib or shank, but I'm thinking this would be great if I could get shoulder.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                              Cubed goat meat. No idea of what cut - that's not an option for a lot of meat here. But it was a tough & chewy bit that was fine after simmering for an hour and a half, which I did, but forgot to add to my modifications. I added the goat meat to the pot the same time I added the tomato.

                                                                                                                                          4. Well, I'm another with no Tikka Masala experience at all. I know that I don't care for garam masala (don't like cinnamon with meat) so I decided at the outset to skimp on that and proceed.
                                                                                                                                            The recipe I picked was this:
                                                                                                                                            http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ch...
                                                                                                                                            For a half recipe, I used breasts, not thighs, milk instead of cream, and cut down on the garam masala while upping slighty the cumin and chile powder.
                                                                                                                                            Otherwise followed the recipe. (The ground almonds seemed an odd thing to put onto this.) It seemed such a shame to discard all that nice yogurt marinade! It smelled so good.
                                                                                                                                            In the end, though, we both liked this --
                                                                                                                                            I'm guessing a more fiery version is the "famous" stuff in the UK?
                                                                                                                                            Oh -- also made some homemade naan-type bread to accompany. It's puffing up on the griddle.

                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                              It's the shear flexibility that makes this dish so approachable no matter what you do to it. Lovely photos and thanks for sharing your new experience.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                In my go, I reduced the yoghurt called for in the marinade because I also hate waste. It makes more sense to me to just use what's actually needed, and a half cup of yoghurt to a kilo of meat is plenty.

                                                                                                                                                You could consider making your own garam masala and/or breaking down the garam masala into a recipe and adding just the proper proportions to your recipe so you can omit the cinnamon. I do that - break down the garam masala and add the proper proportions of the individual spices to my recipe instead. I don't like using premade spice mixes. I prefer individualizing my recipes to our tastes.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                  Beautiful blue room and look at that bread! You really out did yourself!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                    blue room,

                                                                                                                                                    Your photos are gorgeous and the naan pic made my mouth water. Thank you for sharing. You inspire me.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                      Based my recipe off of the same recipe.
                                                                                                                                                      Used breasts as well, although I swapped out the cream for a mix of milk and yogurt.
                                                                                                                                                      Added cardamom pods to the sauce and swapped out the chile powder for serranos (3 small for a half recipe).

                                                                                                                                                      I think the serranos added a slight heat without altering the dish too much.

                                                                                                                                                      Also, curious to know how that naan turned out.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Friday night was Tikka night. I made chicken tikka, which I skewered and baked, served with a mildly spicy tomato based sauce, cumin spiced wedges and garlic and coriander naan.

                                                                                                                                                      I would say my dish was relatively sucessful and I would make it again, the only downfall really as that my spice mix needed replacing as it had lost some flavour. The recipe I used was adapted from one I found on Allrecipes that had rated highly, but need some major tweaks (especially since the original recipe called for 7 tsp of salt!).

                                                                                                                                                      Chicken marinade:

                                                                                                                                                      1 cup yogurt
                                                                                                                                                      1 tsp chilli flakes
                                                                                                                                                      1 tsp freshly ground pepper
                                                                                                                                                      1 tsp ground cumin
                                                                                                                                                      2 tsp tandoori masala
                                                                                                                                                      1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                                                                      1 tbsp lemon juice (I used roughly half a lemon)
                                                                                                                                                      2 chicken breasts

                                                                                                                                                      Put all ingredients, except chicken, into a bag and mix them together. Cut chicken into roughly 1 to 1.5 inch chunks and put in bag and mix. Tie off bag and place in fridge overnight or longer if wanted.

                                                                                                                                                      When ready to cook, skewer marinated chicken onto 4 soaked bamboo skewers and place on a rack over a baking sheet. Bake in oven at 425F for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning them over halfway.

                                                                                                                                                      The naan bread was made using a recipe by Madhur Jeffray, I simply added a scant tsp of garlic powder and a 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro to the dough. I also made it in the morning before I left for work and left it to slowly rise in the fridge. This was the star for the meal for me, even though the leading role was intended for the chicken.

                                                                                                                                                      http://www.food.com/recipe/madhur-jaf...

                                                                                                                                                      As for the sauce, this was really nothing special and I had to tweak it to get some flavour in there, so I'm not going to share that recipe until I've improved it. It was however nice, but lacking.

                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                        Musie, great photos! I really enjoy making naan myself. Simpler than baking a loaf of bread.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                          Wow, just wow musie. Great write-up, professional plating, terrific photos and reading you say:

                                                                                                                                                          "I also made it in the morning before I left for work and left it to slowly rise in the fridge"

                                                                                                                                                          ...colour me impressed! Seriously impressed!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                            What a gorgeous meal you've got there!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                              Please do share after tweaking. Beautiful presentation!

                                                                                                                                                            2. http://food52.com/recipes/17991-lenti...

                                                                                                                                                              I also plan on giving these lentil cakes a go to use up the garam masala and millet flour I have in the pantry.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I was looking for sambar masala in my bottomless spice box and found Tandoori masala instead. On the back of the box are directions for making tandoori chicken which I found to be very perculiar. The recipe has you soaking checken pieces in vinegar/salt/water misture for an hour before proceeding with marinating in yogurt and spices as usual. Anyone familiar with this method?

                                                                                                                                                                Looks like at least chicken tikka will be made since I have chicken in the fridge and now a rather large box of tandoori masala :)

                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                  What is the brand of tandoori masala? Some people soak chicken in vinegar or lime juice with salt to sanitize it and remove any unpleasant smell, and also to tenderize. I think US chickens are watery and tender and don't need the soaking, though.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                                                                                                    The brand is "National" from Pakistan. I am in Canada and our chickens are watery and tender too unless I am fortunate to buy one from a farm - it will be dense, fat-less and not at all watery.

                                                                                                                                                                    I might try soaking just to see if there is any improvement to the taste/texture.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes - they are just having you do a 'brine' to bring more juicyness to the chicken, then do the yogurt as a separate step for flavoring.

                                                                                                                                                                    I find it easier to have a one step by having a pretty heavily salted yogurt mix with lemon juice added so you can skip having to brine first.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you for the clarification! I'll have to put my cooking on hold as I am going to NYC for Passover in a couple of days. Once I am back, I'll experiment with tandoori masala and might even try their "brining" method if time allows.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Okay so I couldn't figure out any major difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala. It seems that butter chicken has dried methi in it, or sometimes fresh methi. But I saw some CTM recipes also required methi. I guess the main difference is that butter chix has more butter in it? I actually ordered both from a restaurant on Friday to experiment and they both seemed almost the same except a few minute differences, probably since both have the same tomato-cream base. Anyhow, I decided to make butter chicken adapted from a friend's recipe that I picked up a few years ago in Dubai. It's actually been several years since I made this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                    Butter chicken

                                                                                                                                                                    For the Chicken Tikka part:

                                                                                                                                                                    about 2 lbs skinless bone-in chicken thigh and drumstick mix (I hate chicken breast, especially Indian food made with chicken breast)
                                                                                                                                                                    1 cup yoghurt
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tbs ginger paste
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tbs garlic paste
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp each garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tbs lime/lemon juice
                                                                                                                                                                    pinch or droplet of orange food coloring
                                                                                                                                                                    pinch of salt

                                                                                                                                                                    Mix all ingredients for marination and marinade chicken for 4 hours or up to overnight. Then cook. (I baked it in the oven at 375 20 mins each side for 40 mins total.) You can just eat this as is as chicken tikka. For butter chicken or CTM, set aside to add to gravy once done.

                                                                                                                                                                    For gravy:

                                                                                                                                                                    3 tbs oil
                                                                                                                                                                    2 onions, slice, par boil briefly, then puree (restaurant type method)
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tbs ginger paste
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tbs garlic paste
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp or more green chiles finely chopped
                                                                                                                                                                    (you can chop your ginger, garlic, and green chiles together in food processor to make a paste and just use this)
                                                                                                                                                                    2 medium tomatoes, puree roughly in chopper
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp or more red chili powder
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp garam masala
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp dried fenugreek (Qasoori methi)
                                                                                                                                                                    3 tbs cashew nut paste (soak about 15+ cashews in a little luke warm water for 15 mins, then grind with water to a paste)
                                                                                                                                                                    1 cup water (more if needed)
                                                                                                                                                                    pinch of orange food color (restaurant touch)
                                                                                                                                                                    salt to taste (about 1 tsp or so)
                                                                                                                                                                    1 tbs cream (optional restaurant touch, I used Nestle canned table cream)
                                                                                                                                                                    2 tsp butter
                                                                                                                                                                    pinch of roasted ground shahi zeera and roasted red chili powder for garnish

                                                                                                                                                                    Heat oil in pot. Fry onion puree till just browning and add in ginger garlic green chilies, fry for a few moments, add in pureed tomatos, cook till oil separates.

                                                                                                                                                                    Add in cashew paste and stir for few moments. Stir in powdered spices and salt, fry for a moment, add orange coloring and water, and allow to simmer for 10 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                    Add in chicken and qasoori methi and keep for 5 minutes or so on simmer. To finish off, keep the flame on low and stir in cream. Turn off the flame and top with butter. Sprinkle with shahi zeera and red chili powder as garnish.

                                                                                                                                                                    ***

                                                                                                                                                                    Recipe went well, except for when I ground the cashews, I should have started the blender slow, then sped it up. Instead the cashews jumped inside the blender, meaning that some got pasted and some stayed in small chunks and I was making a small quantity so pushing it down didn't help much. I decided to remedy that by adding in whole cashews at the end of cooking so it would just seem like I had intended there to be cashew pieces inside. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    I also let the chicken simmer in the sauce for about 10 mins to make sure it was cooked through to the bone. I used chut up drum sticks rather than thigh-leg pieces today.

                                                                                                                                                                    Serving this with zeera rice and mixed daal medley, plus freshly sliced onion, tomato, cucumber, and daikon radish as a salad.

                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                    1. Ta DUM!

                                                                                                                                                                      I used the J. Kenji Lopez Alt recipe with slight modifications.

                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                                      I used bone in, skinless chicken pieces and grilled them. I used a little more than half the lemon juice, but doubled the sauce amount. ( So used about 1 cup) I added a little extra cayenne. Had a senior moment and forgot to toast the cumin and coriander seeds before grinding, so set them aside and started again. l also left out nearly all the cilantro (personal choice) but scattered some roughly chopped flat leaf parsley with a tiny amount of finely diced cilantro over the finished dish.

                                                                                                                                                                      Flushed with anticipation and wine I summoned DH and found him in a rare but familiar pose indicating the onset of a migraine "aura." He took his meds and we waited. Happily the episode passed fairly quickly but appetites were gone, so I put my lovely Tikka dish away and we had chicken soup. :-) I am thrilled to announce that the dish survived a night in the fridge VER Y well and we had it last night. It was delicious!!! Leftovers tonight. I'm going to make another recipe later this month just for comparison (but cant imagine a better dish) and will be sure to get a pic.

                                                                                                                                                                      This was very rewarding and I'm so proud of my efforts.

                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                        It is too bad that your dinner momentum was interrupted but I'm very glad that it all worked out in the end. Great job!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                          delys77,

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the empathy. It really was just a little glitch as all turned out well, but I offered it as an explanation for lack of photo. I LOVE seeing everyone's food pics.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                            Me too, but sometimes by appetite gets the better of me and the photography step gets skipped.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                              delys77,

                                                                                                                                                                              I can identify. Funny thing is when I was 50 years younger appetites sometimes caused dinner to be skipped! :-D

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                          Italian Nana - not sure if I quite understand your modification with the lemon juice? 1/2 as much lemon in the marinade, but twice as much lemon in the sauce part (I made this recipe also, and spices, etc. get divided into marinade and sauce parts after recipe gives initial quantities - in case anyone wonders what we are talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                          Will post my results as well below here, as used the same recipe....

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                            gingershelley,

                                                                                                                                                                            Sorry, that wasn't very clear. I didn't change the marinade. I wanted double the amount of sauce, but heeding some reviews that felt it was too much lemon juice, I did not double that ingredient for the sauce. That turned out to be just about right. Nice and tangy, good acid but not overpowering.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. The nomination thread for the April Home Cooking Dish of the Month is now up here:
                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894960

                                                                                                                                                                          1. So for my first ever attempt at making Tikka Masala, I used the recipe from food.com that aching shared, which is from Cook's Illustrated http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-ti...

                                                                                                                                                                            Since there's only 2 of us, I cut this recipe in half, but still had it as 4 servings. I ate one serving tonight, will have the other for my lunch on Monday. SO ate 2 servings tonight :) I thought my serving was plenty, so keep that in mind if you opt to go for this recipe... as written for 4 servings it would be A LOT of food.

                                                                                                                                                                            I planned to serve with yellow rice (stolen from the infamous Halal Cart Chicken recipe), and then decided today to make some naan. But, I forgot to make the rice! I remembered when the chicken had about 10 minutes left, so we ate without rice. But it was OK because there wasn't a ton of leftover sauce anyway, and the naan was great to sop up what sauce there was.

                                                                                                                                                                            Overall I found this recipe very easy to make. I used a garam masala that I purchased at Whole Foods. I also put the yogurt mixture on the chicken about an hour ahead of time as someone in the comments mentioned. Actual cooking time for this was only about 30 minutes though. I didn't need the full 8-10 minutes it talks about for the onions, mine turned golden after only a few.... maybe my stove was too hot. I was also scared to use my broiler but the chicken turned out wonderfully, and I'm going to try cooking chicken with the broiler again, I really liked the crust it formed. My chicken breasts were pretty thick, and took about 13 minutes to cook, I pulled them when they were at 140, not 165 like the recipe says, and they were fully cooked through. Oh also I did like aching did, and just used red pepper flakes instead of the serrano, and left out the cilantro. SO can't do a lot of heat or cilantro (due to his Crohn's disease), so I wanted to be able to control the heat amount more than if I had used a whole pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                            Overall, I was happy with the results of this, and was surprised at how easy it is. If you do the seasoning part in the morning or the night before, you could definitely make this on a weeknight. Also, if anybody cares, total calories for the chicken/sauce was 350 (my chicken was right at 16oz after cooking). Could be even less if yogurt was subbed for the heavy cream, which I often do.

                                                                                                                                                                            Side note: this was also the first time I've made Naan. I used this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aa... didn't follow the shape recommendations obviously but I thought it was fun to make. Each "loaf" is 211 calories.

                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                              JJ, that looks great! Nice job with your first time on the naan!

                                                                                                                                                                              Also suprising to hear the calories are that reasonable with the heavy cream. Not feeling quite so bad about eating it then.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks! I was surprised too, but since I halved the recipe, only 1/3 cup was used, and that was split up over 4 servings, so it really wasn't much per serving and all the other ingredients are low cal. I also forgot to mention that I used 2% Greek yogurt instead of full fat so that helped too.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                  In the past I have sub'd cream in curry recipes with soy milk or even soy yogurt before to cut the calorie and the dairy intake down. It can even add a nice earthiness to the overall flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yup I usually sub 2% or full fat greek yogurt in for heavy cream in most recipes like this, but I wanted to be "legit" in my first go round with this. I do find that 0% yogurt does not work usually... most of the times I've tried it it curdles.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                i'm impressed by your first time out with Naan! i want to make some, but i'm thinking it will be an April project... and sadktm March has gotten away from me and i don't see homemade tikka masala in my near future....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey thanks! The naan really was pretty easy and doesn't take a ton of hands on time. I did utilize my kitchen aid with the dough hook for the kneading part because I'm lazy :) The hardest part was getting the shape to stay roundish when putting it in the cast iron pan, so while the one in the photo is pretty good, I ended up with some rather amoebic looking ones. Also had to play a bit with the heat, I found having my stove on high was too hot with the cast iron. Actually there's only one left... I ate one when hot, one with dinner, SO had 2 with dinner then I had the 5th this morning warmed up and topped with melted butter and cinnamon and sugar, yum. Last one is w/ the leftovers tomorrow for my lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                    juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                    "Amoebic naan" hee-hee! Your pics are great. If I find a wheat-free naan recipe I would LOVE to try it. I'm glad I doubled the sauce recipe for my first try. I'm a saucy old broad. Can't wait to see what we're cooking next month.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                      ItalianNana, the link I provided for the naan on the food network site has instructions to make it gluten-free down at the very bottom, although some of the reviews said it didn't turn out as well. Might be worth a shot though.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                        Amoebias are fine...naan is traditionally tear-drop shaped anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Just sliding in before the end of the month...

                                                                                                                                                                                  I made a last minute decision to make tikka masala one evening and I used the Leitas Culinaria recipe that breadcrumbs used earlier in the month:

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://leitesculinaria.com/17266/reci...

                                                                                                                                                                                  It is fairly simple and quick recipe that relies on premade garam masala - I used Penzeys. All in all, I was pleased with the dish although I've had more delectable versions. Next time, I will definitely make my own garam masala as I think the Penzey's version is a bit too cinnamon-heavy. Also, the sauce could have been creamier - I ran a bit short of yogurt to stir in a the end. Overall, however, a quick dish that can be made after work and was devoured by 2 boys and spouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Coming in with Tikka Masala after the end of the month...
                                                                                                                                                                                    I did make it during March, but ended up being away from the internet some of the time, and never got it posted.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I made the recipe in 660 Curries, which has been mentioned a couple of times upthread.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The chicken was grilled on skewers, after marinating in yogurt, ginger, garlic, cilantro, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, Indian cayenne, and garam masala.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The sauce consisted of red onion, red bell pepper, almonds, raisins, tomatoes, cream, more Indian cayenne, and more garam masala. Once assembled the dish was topped with cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                                    As much as I like a bit of fruit with my meats, I did not like the raisins puréed into the sauce, creating an overall sweetness. I also think this recipe (as others in this book) is very scant on spices. It calls for 1/4 tsp of garam masala for 1 1/2 lb of chicken. There was a thread once where someone questioned the tiny amounts of spice in some dishes, and the author defended the amounts as being traditional and balanced. To me, the amount was insufficient. I multiplied the spice amounts (without measuring), and still found the dish rather mile. It was OK, but nothing I'd make again. Pretty though!

                                                                                                                                                                                    I served it with cucumber raita and purchased naan.

                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm glad to read your comments of the spicing in 660 Curries--we were underwhelmed, to say the least. I didn't find that many intriguing recipes in it--many variations on a theme, and the spicing was certainly more timid than my Indian in-law's. Thought I was the only one disappointed in the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Is their an archive link for past Dish of the Months? I'd like to catch up.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                        There is, DK, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/929718

                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope all links work, I have not had time to check them. Please let me know if anything is amiss.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you Herby. I am excited to catch up!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                            Do join us on the latest thread - Legume Soups - if this interests you. The thread is stickied on the Home Cooking board.