Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my husband’s favorite Indian dishes (along with Tandoori Chicken). He’s not alone–the dish has been described as Britain’s national food after a survey found that it was the most-ordered restaurant dish in the country, and it is very popular throughout America and the rest of the westernized world. Exactly where the dish originated is a bit of a mystery, but it is generally accepted that it was created in a restaurant and aimed at the Western palette. The name itself simply means “spiced chicken pieces” and derives from Hindi.
Wanting to cook some Indian food and moved by a desire to share one of his favorite dishes, my husband decided to create a vegetarian version of this famous dish. Fortunately, we found a very helpful video online showing how to make Chicken Tikka Masala. With a little experimentation, we were able to adapt the recipe to create a very satisfying vegetarian dish.
The recipe calls for yogurt, which is optional (so you could make it vegan as well). The yogurt, when added to the dish a few minutes before serving, creates a rich, creamy sauce. The more yogurt you add, the blander and more saucy the dish becomes. Leave the yogurt out for a peppery, vibrant dish.
Vegetarian Tikka Masala with Potato, Cabbage, and Peas
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 and 1/2 sweet onions, finely diced
- 1 large tomato, finely diced
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 medium russet potatoes, diced
- 1/2 green cabbage, sliced into thin strips
- 2 cups frozen peas
- aromatic Basmati rice
1). Mix all of the ingredients for the Masala Paste together.
2). Start the rice cooking according to the instructions for the variety.
3). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
4). Add the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods for just a few seconds to add fragrance to the oil, then remove them.
5). Add the onions and stir until they are browned.
6). Add the masala paste and stir for a minute, then add the tomato and stir for another minute, then add the water and bring it to a simmer. Salt to taste.
7). Add the chopped potatoes, cabbage, and peas. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and cabbage are tender and a fork can slide easily through the potato pieces.
8). Add yogurt to taste–the yogurt will create a sauce.
9). Serve over aromatic Basmati rice.