Skip to content


Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

My friend Kevin is currently staying with me, and has been for the past week because he’s on a mission to get rid of all his stuff before he heads off to his big new hotshot design job in New York (you can see his kooky tumblr asking people for food in exchange for his stuff here). As you can probably guess, this worked out to my benefit in multiple ways. 1) I’m housing an awesome guy who will be very successful one day and will think back to that last week he spent in Berkeley and how his good friend Rachel let him stay on her double air mattress. 2) I got more sheets for my sheet-rug project! It’s really moving along. 3) “Hey Rachel do you want my spices? I went through an Indian cooking phase and I have spices for days now.” UM, YES PLEASE?! So yeah, Kevin gave me all his spices (2 gallon zip loc baggies-full) and I obviously had an urge to cook Indian for the first time.Indian food, like Thai and other ultra spice-y (not to be confused with spicy, which they sometimes are as well) foods have always seemed kind of daunting to me. I’ve always felt a kind of “let the professionals deal with that” attitude towards these cuisines. But now that I had “spices for days” I realized that was probably the hardest part—accumulating a spice collection.

I set out to make chicken tikka masala, which FUN FACT: is not real Indian food. It was apparently invented in Britain (which itself is a huge purveyor of Indian food) and that’s probably why non-Indian people love it so much.

Either way, it’s darn tasty.

I snagged the recipe from AllRecipes and was especially intrigued because most of the negative reviews had the words “too spicy” in them. Uh, c’mon guys. No such thing as too spicy.

I did make some modifications but sadly, I made this recipe last week and my memory just isn’t what it used to be so both you and I may never know what I actually put in the recipe. This is especially sad news because I think the whole thing turned out pretty well. Spicy and creamy and tomato-y and filling.

What I DO remember is that I did NOT use the skewers that the original recipe calls for because I didn’t grill the chicken; instead I sort of pan-fried the bite sized pieces of chicken in a little bit of the yogurt marinade and they came out really well. I’ll leave the grilling to the men (sorry, the Berkeley feminism hasn’t hit me yet).



  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

%d bloggers like this: