On Warm Bellies on a Snow Day (Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe)

My kids are picky.
I mean seriously picky.
A lot has to do with sensory processing issues, and the rest from sheer stubbornness I think.   I really don’t understand it at all because as a kid I lived to try new foods.  My brother and I would beg for octopus or artichokes.  Things that I really didn’t know other kids didn’t want too.
One thing my picky kids do like is Indian Food.   (Go figure.)  I guess the vegetables are sometimes so well hidden or changed with spices that they forget they are there?
Anyway, we have had a long weekend compounded with a snow day and we were all bored of the same old food, so I decided to make Chicken Tikka Masala for lunch yesterday.
FYI, after a bit of research I realized that Indian Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are actually the same thing, just in Butter Chicken the meat is usually left over and cut into cubes!  

I came up with this recipe.  I made it a bit on the un-spicy side because I wanted the younger three to enjoy it.  (Also left out onions which most recipes have.) I love Penzey’s spices and order most of my spices from them online.  Their Tandoori Spice worked really well in this dish because it had much of what I wanted and nothing extra: coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic, ginger, cardomom, and saffron.  *FOR A VEGETARIAN OPTION YOU COULD USE ROASTED POTATOES, SQUASH, OR CAULIFLOWER INSTEAD OF THE CHICKEN.

bottle of Penzey's Tandoori Seasoning
*And no I’m not sponsored by Penzey’s, but would love to be! 🙂
                  This is what I call “Chicken Quickka Tikka Masala.”
Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

My version of Chicken Tikka Masala and/or Indian Butter Chicken.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 8
Author: Panamamama

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs boneless chicken cut into cubes I like thigh meat but breast is good too!

Marinade

  • 1 cup plain yogurt I like Fage Greek Yogurt
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 clove garlic chopped and pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Penzey's Tandoori Seasoning

Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Penzey's Tandoori Seasoning (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika good quality
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 16 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream (Can substitute with coconut cream)
  • Kosher Sea Salt
  • Pepper

Garnishes

  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Plain yogurt

Instructions

  • Put cut meat into marinade and let sit overnight in refrigerator or at least while you cook the sauce and make the naan.

To make the sauce:

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the spices.
  • Cook a minute or two until fragrant, then add 1 cup of water and tomato paste, stirring until well blended.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and about a cup more water.
  • Take off the heat and carefully puree in the blender.
  • Put back in saucepan and simmer while meat cooks.
  • When meat is almost done add cream, butter, and salt & pepper to sauce and stir and simmer until time to add the meat. (See meat instructions below.)

Meat:

  • In a hot cast iron skillet with 2 Tablespoons of oil cook marinated meat over medium high heat.
  • Stir frequently and cook until meat is thoroughly cooked.
  • Place cooked meat in finished sauce and garnish with fresh cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.
  • Serve with basmati rice and fresh naan!

It was really easy and turned out great!  And best of all… EVERYONE ate it! *I don’t have a “go to” naan recipe yet.  I just googled “naan” and made one.  I’ll try and get a good one and post it later!

Enchiladas Verdes

Do you have one of those dishes that people ask you to make? 
(They may not be your personal favorites, but everyone else loves them?)
Mine are my enchiladas verdes, pizza, and carrot cake. 
This recipe came from one from my grandma that I changed quite a bit.  I do still like hers, and that’s the one folks actually expect, but this one is healthier and actually more of a real enchilada.  My kids have become pickier (is that even possible?) so I took the rice out of these (which is inside them with Meme’s recipe and also has almonds, which I leave out now for kids.)

Enchiladas Verdes

Filling:

  • Shredded Chicken (could use turkey) I boiled, cooled, and shredded breasts, about 3?
  • Chopped onions or leeks (I used leeks this time)
  • Packet of Sazon for flavoring (or you could just use salt, pepper, cumin, oregano)
  • A bit of vinegar (maybe a tablespoon?)
  • Broth if needed 
  • My grandma added cooked rice and chopped roasted almonds to her filling which is tasty for a more casserole type meal.

Saute onions and garlic first til transparent.  Then add rest and simmer.  
When sauce (below) is done add a little to the filling and stir.

Sauce:

  • Sour cream, Greek Yogurt, or blended Cottage Cheese (I used sour cream and blended cottage cheese this time) about 2 cups, maybe a bit more depending on how creamy you like it.  *My grandma’s recipe uses cream of chicken soup instead.
  • Shredded cheese (Mexican cheeses, cheddar or a mix) I used a Mexican/Cheddar blend from the store.  About a cup or so.
  • Salsa Verde also known as Tomatillo Salsa. (I use a pre-made salsa, Herdez brand which I like. You could make your own but tomatillos are expensive here and I haven’t braved growing them myself.)  Again, as much as you’d like- think I use about a third to half of a jar.
  • Broth (I used chicken broth I’d made when I boiled the chicken breasts by adding some veggies to the boiling water.) Add enough to give it the right consistency, about a cup or so?

Filling Enchiladas

Rolled Enchiladas

Spread a little sauce in bottom of 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Fill flour tortillas with enough filling to still be able to roll nicely.  You can use store-bought tortillas or make your own.  Roll and place seam side down in baking dish. You can sprinkle the top with more cheese if you want to.

Before Baking

Bake in a 350 degree oven until they are a little brown on top and heated through.