chicken tikka masala

My first memory of chicken tikka masala was from my freshman year of college. I had gone out to eat with a group of friends from the newspaper to a nicer Indian restaurant in Georgetown. After the server sat our large group, he pointedly asked, “Raise your hand if you’re ordering chicken tikka masala. I know someone in this group is ordering chicken tikka masala”. Our friend Tim somewhat sheepishly raised his hand. He was indeed ordering the chicken tikka masala. I’d never heard of chicken tikka masala at the time, and only inferred from the waiter’s tone that chicken tikka masala was not true Indian cuisine.

Turns out, that’s probably true (the jury is still out on chicken tikka masala’s precise origins) and chicken tikka masala does win the prize for most universally appealing to white people (apparently it’s Britain’s most popular dish). But, like most popular things, chicken tikka masala is popular because it’s really, really good. Surly waiters aside, I’m never disappointed when I order it when we go out for Indian in the neighborhood and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this recipe.


We decided to try and make chicken tikka masala for our supper club. After scouring the internet for recipes, cross referencing one against the other, reading comments and reviews, we landed on a recipe from The Pioneer Woman and adapted it to suit our tastes (chicken thighs forever and always). For not requiring tons of obscure spices or days of simmering, we think it turned out pretty damn good. You can feel free to cross-reference this claim with our friend Ted.

Chicken Tikka Masala, adapted from The Pioneer Woman
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
ground coriander
ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 – 2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 tablespoons garam masala
1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper or jalapeños if you want it spicy

For the rice
2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water

Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt, ground coriander and ground cumin. Put them in a large tupperware and pour the yogurt over the chicken. Coat the chicken in the yogurt. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for an hour, or preferably overnight.

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Turn on the broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place a metal rack over the baking sheet. Place the chicken in an even layer on the rack. Broil the chicken, 5 – 7 minutes per side, until charred and cooked through. Once cooled slightly, cut into chunks.

Start your rice. Cook the rice according to the rice cooker or package instructions with the turmeric, butter and salt.


While the chicken is broiling, saute the onion in a few tablespoons of butter, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a minute or two more. Add the garam masala. Add the tomatoes and tablespoon of sugar. Add the jalapeños or cayenne, if using. Let simmer for 15 or 20 minutes to let the flavors come together. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until it doesn’t have any chunks. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper. A few minutes before serving, add the chicken and stir to coat it with the sauce.

Serve the chicken tikka masala over rice. Naan optional. If you happen to be getting the frozen naan from Trader Joe’s, go with the garlic naan.




chickpea lavash wraps


Chickpea Lavash Wraps
For the chickpea spread
1-15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 red onion, chopped
a few tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2/3 cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper

For the cucumber-yogurt dressing
1 medium cucumber, diced or sliced
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1 clove garlic, diced or grated
salt and pepper

To assemble 
2 cups spinach
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 pieces lavash bread
1 tablespoon butter

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In a food processor, chop up two-thirds of the chickpeas. Put in a medium bowl and add the rest of the chickpeas, lemon zest and juice, onion, parsley, and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. This spread can be made a day or more in advance. After sitting in the fridge for a day or so, the flavors melt together and it gets even better.

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In a small bowl, combine chopped cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice and zest,  garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. This dressing can be made a day or more in advance as well.

To assemble, lay a lavash bread on the counter. Spoon some of the chickpea spread and some of the yogurt dressing onto the lavash. Add some sriracha for heat.  Add a handful of spinach and a few slices of bell pepper. Roll it all up like a burrito.


In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the lavash wrap. Toast each side and serve.



pizza with goat cheese, corn, poblanos and cilantro

This recipe was inspired by a conversation with our friend Alexa. She saw something like it on Sprouted Kitchen, improvised with what she had in the fridge and voila, dinner. Her description sounded so good and I had almost all of the ingredients already, so I too improvised and mine also turned out delicious.

The flexibility of pizza as a medium really is awe-inspiring. The fact you can make a decent pizza with just about whatever configuration of cheese and veggie you happen to have on hand—magic.  This fact also makes bad pizza even sadder if you stop to think about it.


We’ve made this pizza a few time since Alexa first told us about it and finally wrote up the recipe. You’ll probably want to make it this weekend—the end of summer (and corn season – even in sunny CA) is nigh.

Pizza with Goat Cheese, Corn, Poblanos and Cilantro
1 ball of pizza dough, divided in two and at room temperature for ease of shaping
1/4 cup sour cream, creme fraiche or mexican crema (whatever you’ve got around will work)
1 poblano pepper, charred and diced
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly (or yellow onion, or shallot)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 – 2 limes, depending on how juicy they are
a small handful of cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Under the broiler, over a gas flame or on the grill, char the poblano. Let it cool and then cut it into small pieces, discarding the seeds. Cut the corn kernels off the ear. Slice a small onion thinly.

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Preheat your oven to 500°. Move an oven rack with pizza stone—if you’ve got one—to very top of your oven. Roll out the pizza dough as thin as you can get it. If you let the dough sit out for an hour or two at room temperature before shaping it, it will be easier to get the crust thinner. Once it is rolled out, dust your pizza peel or baking sheet with corn meal or flour. Place the dough on the pizza peel or on baking sheet. Time to top!

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Coat the dough with a thin layer of sour cream. Sprinkle on the poblanos, corn, onion and goat cheese. Brush some olive oil onto the parts of the crust that aren’t covered in sauce or toppings. Slide it onto your pizza stone or cook on the baking sheet for 15 – 20 minutes, until the crust is browned. Meanwhile, mix together the lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro. We used our magic bullet, but you could also just chop the cilantro and mix in a bowl. When the pizza comes out of the oven, drizzle on the cilantro-lime dressing and serve.

Speaking of perfect pizza, I wish we had a backyard of sorts so we can get this rad, tiny, wood-fired pizza oven and turn out even more delicious (wood fired!) pizzas in less than 5 minutes a pop. I would have homemade pizza at least once a week if I was the proud owner of one of those cuties.