Cooks Illustrated Chicken Tikka Masala

August 14, 2007 · 5 comments · Print This Post

in Dinner, Poultry

Last weekend, Chris and I had lunch with our friend Anna at a restaurant called Bukhara in Jamaica Plain. It was insanely delicious and not only did I eat my own food, but I also liberally sampled everyone elses’ selections as well. You’ve been warned, don’t let me loose on a plate of fresh naan.

This little excursion also managed to set off my obsessive compulsive need to educate myself in the area of Indian cuisine (yet again). Coincidentally, the September issue of Cooks Illustrated featured a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. Apparently, while being the single most popular “Indian” dish in the world, it’s origins aren’t authentic. In fact, according to the magazine, this scrumptious chicken and creamy tomato based sauce was actually invented in a London curry house. My bubble was promptly burst. But the recipe appeared straight forward and the always thorough Cooks Illustrated article made the several steps involved in the preparation seem manageable, so I gathered the ingredients, some naan from Whole Foods (I just couldn’t help myself), and got to work.

The end result yielded unbelievably tender chicken in a thick and rich sauce with just enough spice and heat to make you reach for that nearby glass of water. To view the full recipe you’ll need to have an online membership to Cooks Illustrated, or pick up the September issue at your local newsstand. This dish would be perfect for a dinner party as it makes a huge amount of food, to which I can fully attest, as I ate leftovers for days.

Rub in the Spice
Rub in the Spice
Mix the Yogurt Topping
Mix the Yogurt Topping
Whip Up the Sauce and Simmer
Whip Up the Sauce and Simmer
Coat the Chicken and Broil
Coat the Chicken and Broil
Combine
Combine
Indulge
Indulge

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lindsay August 15, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Hi Erin!
You are so brave, Indian is the only cuisine that I have yet to attempt because I feel like I’ll muck up all the goodness in the sauce. I’m sad to hear that this is not authentically Indian, but did this taste like the real stuff?
Thanks for the great post and the inspiration, I might attempt this cuisine when we return…
Lindsay

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2 Erin August 15, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Hi Lindsay!

Thank you for the wonderful compliment. The sauce and the chicken were amazing. It truly did taste like a “restaurant quality” Indian dish. Cooks Illustrated is so great at creating parred down recipes that are easy to follow and delicious. I’d highly recommend picking up the magazine or signing up for the free online preview (and then you can print off recipes to your hearts content).

Good luck on your own Indian attempts.

Best,
Erin

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3 Nicole August 16, 2007 at 12:14 am

I am totally addicted to Naan also and I’m hoping to learn how to make some at home once I’m back in my own kitchen. I had lots of good Indian food in New York and the Naan was amazing! Now I’m looking forward to getting home because I know I have a Cook’s Illustrated waiting for me 🙂

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4 Erin August 16, 2007 at 8:39 am

Hi Nicole,

If you find a good naan recipe please let me know. There are so many online (and they’re all different, sometimes subtly, sometimes vastly) so I’d love to know which would yield the best bread. Speaking of Cooks Illustrated, I wonder if they’ve already figured this out for us… Although, baking naan is undoubtedly not the best idea considering how much I’d probably eat.

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5 Nicole September 8, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Hey Erin,

As I had hoped, I found this issue of Cook’s Illustrated waiting for me when I got back to Sicily. I made the Chicken Tikka Masala last night and my husband and I both really liked it a lot although I think maybe next time I’ll marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture…I don’t care what the Cook’s people say, I don’t think it makes the chicken too mushy! Didn’t have enough energy to attempt any naan but I’m going to try some recipes soon!

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