Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chicken Tikka Masala

There is no shortage of great restaurants in our neck of the Florida woods.  The bounty of the sea (and land) comes alive in creative gastronomic inventions by some incredible chefs.  We have certainly found our favorite places to eat and still have many more to try.   That said, if your taste buds are beckoning ethnic food, you may have to look elsewhere.  Yes, there are a few Mexican restaurants, the occasional sushi bar or pasta house, a lonely Greek place, and maybe a couple others hidden away.  But when I was in the mood for Indian food . . . I was out of luck. 

So the other night with chicken breasts in hand I decided it was time to break out the cardamom, ginger, and coriander and bring a taste of the Punjab to the motorhome.  Betsy was agreeable to whatever creation was coming to her plate just as long as it didn’t interfere with the Golden Globes and her claimed spot on the couch. 

I had all the ingredients in the motorhome except plain yogurt but I decided the slightly sweet and tangy honey vanilla Greek yogurt sleeping in the fridge would work just fine.  After all, my aunt makes her enchiladas with whipped topping and it works. 

This recipe serves four but you can easily cut it in half as I did.  One large chicken breast was plenty for us.  OR . . . make the full amount and have some delicious leftovers for the next day or to tuck away in the freezer.

While the chicken was marinating, I made a pot of rice and began on the sauce.  In no time dinner was served.  Just when I thought the clapping was for my culinary delight that I boastfully placed on the table, I realized the “best actress in a drama” was being announced and the fan fair was for someone in a Versace gown and not a cook in holey blue jeans.  Oh well.

Serves: 4


Chicken marinade

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts


  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 1½ tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 15-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped (I buy the petite diced)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish with fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, turmeric and olive oil.  Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces and place in the marinade.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to, overnight.
  3. Place almond on a sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Once cool, place almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Reserve for later use.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. 
  5. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the garam masala, chile powder, cinnamon, and cayenne.  Stir the mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the spices become fragrant.  Add the tomatoes with their juices, chicken stock, sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.  Add the cream, ground almonds and peas and cook uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Place the chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken for 10 minutes, turning once midway through.  When the chicken is done, add it to the sauce and simmer gently for another five minutes until cooked thoroughly.  (If the sauce is too thick, add chicken stock or more cream.).
  7. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.


  1. I'm sure you looked much better in your holey blue jeans than what some of those actresses were wearing, and to think what money they paid to look that bad! ;c)

    Have to give your recipe a try, looks delicious!

    1. Thanks. I prefer the blue jean look anyway. Just didn't seem right to bring my Valentino dress and Vera Wang shoes in the RV.

  2. I adore Chicken Tikka Masala and always make the Cooks Illustrated recipe, it is wonderful! Your version is a bit different, I'll give it a shot sometime. Thanks for sharing!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

    1. Thanks. I'll have to the try the Cooks Illustrated.....I love the show.

  3. I too love tikka masala and make the Cook's Illustrated version. It is my go-to cookbook. I will have to try your recipe. It looks quite interesting.


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