Melanie Jeanne

Sunday Num Day: Chicken Tikka Masala

Meals with family… Time to talk… Time to laugh… Time to slow down and just be…
I love cooking and in particular meals for my family. I love the idea of putting a dash of thought, a scoop of love, a shake of compassion and sprinkle of life into a meal for the ones I love… Mixing, stirring, smelling, tasting; there is just something about working on a home cooked meal. The excitement to bring flavors together and the joy of watching the progress. I am a HUGE fan of exploring menus and finding flavors and testing new meals.I love the excitement within me, finding something new. The desire to feed my family, to find the perfect taste for the occasion. The passion to make moments memorable. Dinner is the one time we slow down and our slow down is still fast in comparison to most folks lives, but we slow, just long enough to cover the days events, just long enough to hear a few kiddo giggles and get the updates on friends, boys, homework and life.
Last Sunday I cooked. I cooked Chicken Tikka Masala. And I cooked from my heart. Mixing spices according to the recipe. Cubing chicken, marinating flavors and stirring sauces. Spices came together in the most fragrant manner. Cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, pepper, garlic, butter… deliciousness. The chicken marinated overnight and the initial sizzles of the meat cooking in the skillet were delightful. The bold aroma filling our kitchen, the skillet sizzling; it was magical to me.

As the chicken came to a completion the basmati rice started cooking in a different pan. Olive oil, salt, pepper and rice coming to a rolling boil. The addition of the starchy scents to the kitchen made the dish start coming together to my senses. In another pan I started the creamy tomato based sauce that would hug the chicken. Garlic and jalapenos tossed into the pan to saute and the popping, sizzling and bold scents filled the kitchen again. Adding the tomato and cream and spices into sauteed combination and the sauce was under way… The final steps of my meal making adventure was letting all the flavors fold into one another through the combining of chicken and sauce. The meal was nearly ready to consume. My senses were heightened and I was ready to scoop my love onto a plate to consume and enjoy.

I love cooking for a million and one reasons… I dislike cooking for few, very apparent reasons. 1. the gathering of ingredients is often times expensive & the amount purchased versus needed increases the cost. 2. the clean-up is NEVER EVER fun. after cooking for five minutes or five hours, washing multiple bowls and spoons and plates, not fun, never fun. 3. the pace by which meals ends is always far too quickly for me. I have a vision of sitting back in a comfortable dining room chair with a bottle of wine on the table, empty plates surrounding me, the ones I love relaxing into conversation and the meal lasting just a smidge longer. Life happens so quickly, days pass in the blink of an eye, I just crave lingering in the good moments just a little bit longer for the sake of my memories and my heart.

Chicken Tikka Masala:

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt to taste
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed

1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove minced
1 jalapeno chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 8oz can tomato sauce1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
salt to taste

* To make the marinade, in a large bowl combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, pepper, garlic & salt. Cube chicken breasts and fold into marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
* When cooking chicken preheat skillet or grill and let chicken stand while heating skillet. Lightly oil heated cook top and discard of excess marinade. Cook chicken until juices run clear (roughly 5 minutes on each side).
* To prepare the sauce, melt butter into a skillet saute garlic and jalapenos in melted butter. Add spices to saute. Pour in cream and tomato sauce, combine all ingredients thoroughly and let simmer on low for 20 minutes. Add cooked chicken and again, let simmer, this time for 10 minutes to let all flavors meld.
* Cook basmati rice or any additional accompaniment according to packaging.

Bon Appetite!!!!




  1. Wendy Hylton

    February 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    yum yum yum sounds and looks amazing. I will have to try this one! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Quirky Chaos

    February 1, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Just an FYI… the dish is quite spicy. So for little palettes, jalapenos may need to be removed.

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