It's easy to make delicious chicken tikka masala at home. Your grill is the perfect substitute for a tandoor oven. Marinate, grill and coat chicken with scrumptious creamy tomato sauce flavored with ginger, garlic and wonderful Indian spices and you may agree with me, that homemade chicken tikka masala is even better than what you get in an Indian restaurant.
I just got back from a whirlwind weekend in New Orleans. I love it there - it's such a fun, friendly city. Between the fantastic food and music and the festive atmosphere, a trip to New Orleans always feels like a celebration. But this visit was extra special because I was there for my son's graduation from Tulane University. Hooray for Alex!!! After a weekend in The Big Easy I felt inspired to cook something super tasty and special. Chicken Tikka Masala - with its spicy, creamy, colorful, tender, tangy, exciting deliciousness - definitely fits the bill!
The magic of this dish comes from first marinating the chicken in yogurt to tenderize it. Then it's partially cooked on a very hot grill, for that "tandoor" flavor. Of course you should use your tandoor oven, if you have one!
The chicken is then cut into bite-sized pieces and finished in a richly spiced, creamy tomato sauce.
The Tulane graduation ceremony was festive and wonderfully unconventional. The students marched out to the sounds of New Orleans jazz with "Just a Closer Walk With Three" played live by Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Brass Band. The Keynote speaker was New Orleans-born, Jazz great - Wynton Marsalis. Holding his trumpet in his hand at the podium, he delivered a brilliant and powerful speech, punctuated with several trumpet solos.
What made the commencement all the more poignant was that it was a wave goodbye to Tulane's beloved long-time president Cowen, who's stepping down in July. Cowen is credited with rebuilding Tulane after Katrina and has since made community service a graduation requirement for all Tulane students.
A big part of the message at the commencement was to go out into the world and make a difference. Here's something Cowen said to the graduates that stuck with me:
“No one will ever remember you for what you did for yourself. They will only remember you for what you did for others.”
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA:
Plain steamed white rice is always a great choice with a saucy curry and here are a few other dishes that I love to serve with Chicken Tikka Masala.
- Saag Aloo: Indian Spinach and Potatoes
- Cucumber Raita: quintessential accompaniment for Indian curries
- Sautéed Spinach and Garlic