Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chicken tikka masala and garlic butter naan

As a continuation to my determination to cook more, I decided to make chicken tikka masala and garlic butter naan. An ambitious feat as I rarely eat Indian food, and when I do, it's always when I'm dining out, I've never actually attempted to cook any sort of Indian food before.

Ingredients for making masala

Chicken skewers; Chicken tikka masala; Spices

There was a lot of spices involved in the making of chicken tikka masala. Thank gosh I had majority of them already on hand at home, I only bought the cumin seeds as we were out of it.

I had originally planned to make butter chicken, but when I was googling for recipes, I saw recipes for chicken tikka masala, and the ingredient list seems to be about the same. I'm not too sure what's the majority difference - but what I gather is that for most chicken tikka recipes, the chicken is cooked separately and added into the sauce later on while for butter chicken, the chicken is simmered in the sauce?

I had overbaked the chicken so they were just a little too dry for my liking. But the sauce was pow wow full of spices flavours. I added lemon juice into the masala sauce, but that made the dish had a little sour undertones, so I've omitted it in the ingredients list below as I think it would be better without it. I love mopping the garlic butter naan with the sauce.

Chicken tikka masala (adapted from here and here)

Chicken marinade
600g chicken breast, boneless and skinless
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 lemon, juice of
1/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsps plain yogurt

Dice the chicken breast. Combine all the above sauce ingredients (except for olive oil, use only 3 tbsp of it) in a bowl and mix well. Toss the chicken and coat well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to a day. Skewer the chicken with pre-soaked bamboo skewers. If baking, set the skewers on the baking sheet and bake 8 minutes, turn and bake another 7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle at 230C. Remove from skewers and set aside.

Masala sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp ginger
1 28-ounce can of tomato puree
pinch of ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp butter
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup yogurt

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until the onions become golden brown, stirring frequently for about six minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomato puree. Cover and simmer for a few minutes until the tomato softens, stirring occasionally. Mash it with the onions until it becomes a sort of mushy paste. Stir in the cumin seeds, coriander, paprika, red pepper, salt, black pepper and sugar. Let the masala simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the sauce into a blender and purée until smooth.

Return the masala to the saucepan and stir in the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, butter and yogurt. Set on high heat. Let it come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add the chicken and let simmer 5 minutes. Stir it every minute or so.

Naan making was not as hard as I thought it would be, just that there was flour flying everywhere on the kitchen counter top and I supposed I overfloured the mixture at the final stage cos it was just too sticky. I shall try to look for another recipe for naan. I love naan, especially garlic butter naans. These tasted great hot off the pan.

Garlic butter naan (adapted from Prerna at Indian Simmer)
220g all purpose flour
1/2 cup of warm milk
1/2 cup of yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp oil
melted butter
chopped garlic

Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well of flour. Mix the milk and yogurt together and pour half of it into the well and slowly combine it together, slowly pouring in the rest of the liquid mixture.

The dough should be soft enough for you to be able to dig your finger into it without applying any pressure. If dough sticks to hand too much then use little bit of oil on hand and then punch into the dough.

Cover with damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.After a few hours, dust your working board, take out the dough and knead it for about 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into smaller balls (in this case you should get about 8 balls to make naans). Dust the board again and flatten the balls to make bread which is a little thick and elongated. Now sprinkle one side of the bread with whichever flavor you want (I mixed some melted butter and garlic and buttered one side generously with the garlic butter mixture).

Brush the other side with water. Heat a thick bottom skillet or a wok or any heavy bottom pan with a lid. Once its nicely hot place the naan wet side down which would stick and cover it with a lid.

Let it cook for about 30 secs or until you see bubbles on it. Now cook the other side of the naan over direct flame of the burner with the help of tongs. When you see some charred brown spots then you know that the naan is done.


  1. That's what I thought, Indian cuisine is at least as complex as French cuisine after all. There are 17 ingredients in your masala sauce!

  2. if you cook often, and especially so if you cook a wide variety of cuisines, you would find that most of the spices are actually pantry staples! :)

  3. that looks amazing, love me some chapati/naan.

  4. Mmm, that looks fantastic.  I've made chicken tikka masala once or twice but haven't made it recently and now you've reminded me of how good it was.  And your naan looks really amazing - I'll have to try it next time I make any kind of curry :)

  5. Wow! This is wonderful...From scratch? This is hardwork. Kudos to the chef. Let me bookmark the recipe, I may not have all of the ingredients yet but in time, I'll have them and I'll be ready to try this out too. Thanks for sharing!

  6. you're my inspiration!!!

  7. Your naan is the best homemade version I've ever seen. Wow. I must try out this recipe the next time I make chicken tikka masala. The photos are awesome!

  8. just discovered your site! very nice :) mind sharing what camera/lens you're using for your photos?

  9. thanks guys! :)

    millypede: hi im using canon 600D with the macro lens (cant rmb which exactly at the top of my head but should be EF-S 60 mm F2.8 Macro i think).

  10. I tried her naan recipe too.. but didn't turn up nice. Heh! 


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