I recently went to a local Indian restaurant that opened up in town where I ended up ordering Chicken Tikka Masala which came with some basmati rice and naan. It turned out to be a little on the sweet side and the naan was an embarrassment- a thin and small piece of pita bread that supposedly passed for naan. No pictures survived the incident haha. If I ever go back, I’ll have to order another dish to see if another menu item will be able to redeem themselves.
A few weeks later, I decided to recreate the meal and take a shot at making homemade naan too. The meal was a success. The Tikka Masala was rich and silky with an acceptable spice level. The creamy tomato sauce was perfect for scooping up with naan. Sooo the naan. The joy I felt was indescribable after seeing the naan rise on my cast iron pan and that first fluffy soft bite sealed the deal. The best part about it was that I was able to use it in other dishes even breakfast. The naan recipe will be coming soon so keep posted this weekend!
Chicken Tikka Masala
Printable Recipe Here
For the Marinade
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
For the Tikka Masala Sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
- In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients: the yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Mix in the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for an hour. If you are patient or have some extra time, you can refrigerate it for 4 hours or overnight.
- Cook the chicken on a grill or in an oven or pan and set aside. I used an indoor grill and it took about 15-20 minutes to cook it because of the heavy marinade. Timing will vary based on the size of cuts and cooking method.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and garlic until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes over medium heat.
- Season with the garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and paprika. Stir to combine and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the tomato sauce.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and heavy cream. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens over low heat. Add cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Serve with rice and chopped cilantro.
-If you do not have garam masala I suggest checking the ethnic foods aisle at your grocery store or going to your local Indian grocery store. I ended up making my own garam masala and I found it to be a good substitute for me. Recipe can be found here. You can click on the serving size and change it to 5 otherwise you will have some extra garam masala.
-One of the key parts to making a sauce is taste, taste, taste! Always taste it after adding spices and adjust it to your own liking.
-Double the recipe for a larger serving size. Be careful with spices though because the ratio does not apply to them. Best option would be to add spices slowly and taste as you go.
Usually you hear of people doing a bucket list, which consists of a myriad of items ranging from places to visit or dare-devil adventures to take. Me and my friend are big foodies so we gave a twist to it. When she gave the idea to have the “Ultimate Food Bucket List”, we just loved it and couldn’t stop adding foods to it! Hahaha it was just perfect & we both couldn’t wait to get started. We started off with a Pina Colada smoothie & Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, which turned out quite successful due to the teamwork from everyone that helped. We didn’t have time to make the Strawberry Mojitos, but we will get to those later!! Keep posted as we blend, bake, slice, sauté, and cook our way through the Ultimate Food Bucket List :)
Pina Colada Smoothie
- 3 cups chopped pineapple
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 banana
- 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 5 ice cubes
Blend together and enjoy your fruitful smoothie!
*If I could change anything about this, I would have added only 1/2 a banana, a couple more ice cubes, and more coconut milk!
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
- 8 oz chicken broth
- 16 oz can diced/fire roasted tomatoes (your choice)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbs cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and heat over medium heat on the stove for about 30 minutes to an hour. (For a more flavorful sauce- can also be done in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low heat or 3-4 hours on high)
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
- 10 tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 1/2 cups Enchilada Sauce
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, and 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in a medium bowl
- In another bowl, mix the shredded chicken, cumin, and garlic powder
- Combine the enchilada sauce mixture with the chicken mixture
- Pour 1 cup of the enchilada sauce at the bottom of a glass baking dish
- Divide the enchilada/chicken mix among the 10 tortillas
- Roll them up and place them seam down in the dish to keep them from opening
- Pour the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the tortillas
- Finish it off with another cup of the shredded cheese
- Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 F
I read in an article once that spending money on experiences and eating out made people happier as compared to spending money on materialistic items. I for one, agree completely with this. An experience will stay with you forever, an unforgettable memory. Every time I eat out, it’s another new experience. Discovering new restaurants and bakeries is always a joy, not to mention the varieties of cuisine that you will get exposed to. In the past weeks I have also discovered two new bakeries, one known for their moist bundt cakes and another for their delish macarons (pictures coming up soon).
Anyways, me and my friends have been looking foreverrrrrr for an exceptional Chinese restaurant to go to! The Chinese fast food in the mall just wouldn’t cut it anymore and neither would those loaded buffets. We settled on P.F.Changs in the end, a decision well-made. Before we even walked into the restaurant, we knew it would be spectacular due to the clean cut presentation. If you haven’t been to this restaurant yet, I highly recommend you visit it if it’s near your area.
**By the way, my goal this winter break is to post something everyday whether a recipe, book review, or something interesting I’ve read, so keep posted! :)
P. F. Changs!
What we ordered…. Before the real food came haha. Dynamite Shrimp, Crab Wontons, Spring Rolls, oh and can’t forget Auntie Chang’s Frappe :)
*Almond & Cashew Chicken*
Stir-fried with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, celery, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts in a garlic soy sauce