• Brianna Rhodes

Chicken Tikka Masala & Naan Bread

This is the dish that convinced my kids that Indian food is amazing! It is savory, flavorful, creamy and (because I can’t help myself) veggie-packed. If you are looking for something new to change up your go-to meals, give this Chicken Tikka Masala a try!



Indian food can be a bit intimidating. I love it because it is so different from traditional American fare. The spices and the flavors are so unique! I remember my first experience trying Indian food in a restaurant in college. I had no idea what anything was, and I basically selected randomly from the menu and went for it. That was not a great experience—I think I ended up with something fairly spicy, and so different from what I was used to. For a long time, I believed I didn’t care for Indian food.


However, as a more mature adult, I tried it again and was blown away by the flavors that Indian food has to offer! It definitely helps to get recommendations if you are unfamiliar with the style of food. The menu is still a little bit intimidating because there are so many unfamiliar names of foods. But if you are willing to explore and be adventurous, you are likely to find some pretty incredible dishes!


Four Stages of cooking Chicken Tikka Masala

Saute the veggies

Add the spices

Cook the chicken

Add tomato sauce & cream

As a dietitian, and a frugal-dugal, I reserve eating out for special occasions in my family. That means in order to enjoy new favorite foods, I have to figure out how to make it myself. This Tikka Masala recipe went through several variations and tweaks and alterations. But I venture to say it is becoming one of my signature dishes. Everyone I’ve made it for thinks it’s pretty good! And that includes some of the young picky eaters in our circles of friends.


Restaurant versions of Chicken Tikka Masala are typically tender chicken in an incredible sauce, served over rice. That is great and all, but the beauty of making it myself is that I can boost the nutritional value by adding more vegetables into the mix.

My food processor is one of my favorite kitchen tools lately. I love to fine chop various veggies and add them to whatever I’m making. I call it “Veggiefied”.


There are so many benefits to this, so I will name a few:

· Boost the nutritional value of your meal

· Get people to eat lots more veggies than they typically would

· Add moisture and texture to your dishes

· Add bulk and stretch your ingredients further

· Save money by using significantly less meat in your dishes

· Add color and beauty to you food



A great pairing with this meal is the Naan bread—which helps to win over the little ones for sure. My daughter loves making Naan bread when we make this dish at home.




The Meal:

· ½ cup rice

· 1 cup Chicken Tikka Masala

· 2 small Naan bread


Recipe Used in this meal:


 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serving size: 1 cup Tikka Masala

Servings per Recipe: 8


Ingredients

Chicken Marinade:

· 2 lbs chicken thighs, cubed

· 1 cup plain yogurt

· 1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic

· 1 Tbsp ground ginger

· 2 tsp garam masala

· 1 tsp turmeric

· 1 tsp ground cumin

· 1 tsp chili powder

· 1 tsp salt

Sauce:

· 1 zucchini

· 1 onion

· 3 medium size carrots

· 1 Tbsp olive oil

· 1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic

· 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

· 2 tsp garam masala

· 1 ½ tsp ground cumin

· 1 tsp turmeric

· 1 tsp ground coriander

· 1 tsp chili powder

· 1 tsp salt

· 1 tsp brown sugar

· 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce

· 1 ½ cups half and half


Directions

1. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-size pieces. Place in a large Ziplock bag. Combine yogurt and the marinade spices in a small bowl. Stir well, then pour over chicken and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, up to overnight if possible.

2. Using a food processor, fine chop the zucchini, onion and carrots. Heat olive oil in large skillet and add chopped veggies. Sauté until tender. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté for additional 3 minutes.

3. Add seasonings (garam masala through salt) to the veggies and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

4. In same pan, cook marinated chicken over medium-high heat. Allow to cook without moving for 3-4 minutes, then flip and repeat. Check for doneness.

5. Return seasoned veggies to the pan with the chicken. Add brown sugar, tomato sauce and half and half. Stir well and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly. Serve warm over rice if desired.



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Simple Naan Bread

Serving size: 1 piece

Servings per Recipe: 16

Ingredients

· 2 cups all-purpose flour

· 1 tsp salt

· 4 tsp baking powder

· 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

· 3 Tbsp water

Directions

1. Measure flour and pour into a medium size bowl. Add salt and baking powder. Mix well.

2. Add yogurt and water, mix well with a spoon. Once dough is thick, knead by hand until the dough forms a nice ball. The dough will be soft, but not too sticky. Add more flour or water if needed.

3. Dived the dough into 16 equal balls. Roll out to ¼ inch thick discs. Preheat a griddle to 350⁰. Cook the dough on the griddle for about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve warm or cool with desired toppings.


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Nutrition Facts Label for Chicken Tikka Masala:



Nutrition Facts Label for Naan bread:



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