Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala and Turmeric Rice

Whew. The semester has finally ended. My students took their final exam on Friday, the 11th at 7pm! I submitted their grades this past Tuesday. Then, I had to go to some end-of-the-semester parties and bake stuff for those events (I will be blogging about the enchiladas I made soon). Then, yesterday, I left Texas to drive to Arkansas to spend Christmas with my mother. My original plan was to spend the night at my aunt's house in Dallas, which is en route to Arkansas. However, since I left the house pretty late in the evening (around 6pm), I decided to drive all the way to Arkansas, only stopping to get gas and to use the potty :). I arrived at my mom's house at 3:40am! Good (and bad) thing, I have insomnia.

Anyway, before I left, my colleague/friend and I decided to have an Indian feast and watch one of my favorite Bollywood movies, Devdas. You MUST watch this movie. It was the first Indian movie to win a Cannes award. The cinematography is beyond beautiful; the songs are so lovely; and the movie is filled with grief, laughter, and intense emotions.

So, for the Indian feast, I made Chicken Tikka Masala (CTM),
turmeric rice with peas,
and chocolate brownies with homemade whipped cream. Today, I will be posting the savory dishes. Later, I will post the delicious brownies.

I have made this version of CTM many of times. I got the recipe from Pioneer Woman and Pastor Ryan. I first fell in love with Indian food a few years ago after being heavily coaxed by my two more "adventurous-with-foods" friends. I am very picky about trying new foods, especially when the food looks unfamiliar to me or is composed of colors I'm not accustomed to seeing on my plate (e.g., the loud red color on tandoori chicken). After trying tandoori chicken, though, I opened myself to trying CTM and fell in love with this dish instantly.

Now that I have found this recipe, I no longer have to go back to that restaurant because my own dishes come out tasting the same or even better than the CTM there.

I also enjoy making my own naan. The process of making this popular Indian bread is almost like that of making tortillas; you just need to add in yeast and allow the dough to rise twice. I brush garlic butter on the top and bottom of the naan while it's in the skillet and place it in the same container I use for my tortillas.

I will post the recipes for CTM, the rice and the naan here so that you can make it all together. I'm not certain as to how authentic this British/Indian dish is, but considering how similar it tastes to the restaurant version, I would assume it's pretty close. I hope you try these dishes out soon. By the way, I'm submitting this naan to YeastSpotting!!

Chicken Tikka Masala and Turmeric Rice
adapted by Pastor Ryan and posted on Pioneer Woman

3-4 Chicken Breasts
Kosher Salt
Ground coriander
Cumin, to taste
½ cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp butter
1 whole Large Onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 piece (approximately 2 Inches) Chunk Fresh Ginger
3 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 can of 28-Ounce Diced or Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Sugar
~1 Tbsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your tastes)
1½ cup Heavy Cream

2 cups Basmati rice
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp turmeric
4 cups water
1-2 cups frozen peas

Fresh Cilantro
Chile Peppers

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some kosher salt, coriander, and cumin. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet, and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side until they are slightly charred around the edges. Remove from oven.

Next, dice one large onion. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until they are slightly browned. As the onions cook, mince your garlic. Next, cut off the outer skin and mince or grate a 1 by 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions. Also throw in about 1 tablespoon of salt (I highly suggest using less salt. I usually use 1/2 Tbsp or 1 1/2 teaspoons).

Next, you are going to add about 3 tablespoons Garam Masala spice and an optional chile pepper. Next, add the can of diced or crushed tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 tablespoon sugar. Allow this mixture to simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.

To a rice cooker add 2 cups Basmati rice, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon Ground Turmeric and 4 cups water (If you don't have a rice cooker, follow the instructions on the back of the bag of Basmati rice, like I did.).

After the CTM sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 ½ cups of heavy cream. Chop up your chicken breasts into chunks, and stir them into the sauce. Add chopped fresh cilantro, if you like cilantro. Also, add the frozen peas into the cooked rice, give them a stir, and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas.

adapted by allrecipes

1 (.25 ounce or about 2 1/4 tsp) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar (reserve 1 Tbsp of sugar to proof the yeast)
3 Tbsp milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt (I used Kosher)
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in the rest of the sugar, warm milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

Punch down dough, and knead in garlic (I add the garlic during the grilling section along with the butter instead). Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place them on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.

Roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. (Cover the naan with a top until the bread starts to form little bubbles everywhere) Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.


  1. Oh WOW! You did a fantastic job on everything!!! Not only do the dishes look mouthwatering, the photography is superb. I am practically drooling as I type!!! Brilliant!

    PS: You're amazing - driving w/o any rest!!

  2. Crazy girl! Weren't you sick the day after driving all night? I have never even thought to make naan. Thanks for the recipe and encouragement that it can work at home.

  3. I love that movie and everyone I loan it out to loves it as well!! The recipes here goes perfect with it, lol. Thank you for the recipe :)

  4. Oh wow this looks absolutely scrumptious!

  5. Have seen the movie, and yes, this luscious chicken curry and turmeric rice are a great accompaniment! SO warm and satisfying :)

  6. Ju - You are too sweet! Thank you for your compliments.

    Sarah - Yeah, I am crazy to drive all that way w/o rest haha. I hope you do make naan; it's so good.

    Marie - Thanks!!

    Gutins - I know what you mean about the movie. The same thing happens to me. I agree that the dishes go perfectly with the movie haha.

    Catherine - Thanks :)

    Muneeba - I completely agree. Thanks for your comment. :)

  7. Memoria, those pictures and the food look incredible!

  8. Sounds delicious! I love tikka masala, thanks for sharing!

  9. Wow. All those dishes sound fantastic. Home-made naan sounds amazing. I will definitely try it.

  10. I just made this naan last night and it was a really big hit! The texture of the finished naan was excellent and the flavor was great. Can't believe I haven't made it before!

  11. Lydia!!!!!!!!! Yeaaa, you left a comment! Gracias, chica :)

    Isabelle - It is delicious. You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

    msmeanie - I hope you do try it; it really is good.

    Christina - I'm so glad it turned out well for you!! Now you can make it all of the time.

  12. All of this food looks super delicious, but especially the naan. It is one (of many) yeast breads that I haven't attempted yet but really want to!

  13. Memoria, did your blog change? I think it was a little different last time I checked :) Amazing food of an amazing person! Love your work, keep it up!

    Lola Mansurov

  14. This looks amazing! Thanks for your wonderful recipe. I like it. I've worked on perfecting this recipe myself, and have come to similar conclusions. The tenders must be breaded (although I sometimes just cut breasts into strips). I like to have a more concentrated buffalo flavor, so I use RedHot simmered for 1 minute with a small amount of cornstarch; it really thickens the sauce up so that it holds to the chicken better. Also, since I'm frying the chicken strips anyway, I usually make some thick-cut french fries as well and add maybe 6-8 fries to each wrap. The fries also help hold the sauce and make the wrap a little more substantial. I add tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, and blue cheese, and viola!

  15. this is a great idea to wrap chicken...Looks so delicious & pictures make me mouthwatering!!Thanks for sharing with 'Hot & Spicy Treats' Restaurant in Satya niketan


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