Chicken (or Vegetarian) Tikka Masala with Cumin-Scented Raita: Indian Food 101
I adapted this chicken (and vegetarian) tikka recipe from my new hoss of a cookbook, One Big Table by Molly O'Neil. I enjoyed the dish as written, but re-vamped it to add quite a bit more sauce, and plenty of veggies. To make a vegetarian version, substitute potatoes for the chicken, and make the marinade as directed, and whisk into the sauce before adding the vegetables..
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • For the marinade, chicken and vegetables :
  • 3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt or unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
  • ¾ teaspoons cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon amchur powder (green mango powder)*
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound chicken breasts and chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces, OR 1 pound yukon gold potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch discs
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste
  • kosher salt
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup half-and-half (optional), or ¼ cup cashew cream
  1. Marinate the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cayenne, cumin, ½ teaspoon of the amchur powder, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and the turmeric. Place the chicken in the bowl and toss to coat. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours. For the vegetarian version, make the marinade and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Spread the chicken pieces onto a large baking sheet. Bake the chicken for 8-10 minutes, or until it is partially cooked and somewhat firm. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of amchur powder, and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil in a dutch oven or large heavy saucepan. When the oil is hot, cook the cauliflower (and potato if using) in a single layer, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until golden in spots. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Note: the potatoes can be cooked until golden, but don't need to be cooked completely, as they'll continue cooking during the simmer.
  4. Make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the dutch oven or large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion and carrot are softened but not browned--about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne, and kosher salt to taste. Cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the crushed tomatoes and the marinade (if making the vegetarian version) and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and vegetables to the sauce, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the half-and-half or cashew cream if using, and season with salt to taste. Serve hot, over basmati rice. Top with a dollop of cumin-scented raita.
*juice from one small lemon can be substituted for the amchur powder
Recipe by Spoon With Me at