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Who here doesn’t like saving money? Let me see a show of hands. No one? That’s what I thought. I like saving money, and I have been called cheap, but even I have my limits. I want to save money and have a rich, full life including eating delicious international cuisine. If you find the right recipes, you can enjoy delicious food at home at a fraction of the cost of eating out. Today, I’m going to show you my tried and true Chicken Tikka Masala recipe.
Before you say, “Whoa! I can’t make that!”, let me assure you: this recipe is doable and delectably delicious! You can find the spices at most grocery stores, but I HIGHLY recommend visiting an Indian market if you have one in your area (British markets often have them as well). The Indian market near my home has the best prices on spices and blows Costco out of the water. Enough of the preamble, let’s get to the good stuff!
Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from a recipe on food.com found here
1 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (or more if you like it spicy up to 4 teaspoons)
4 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon salt
1 piece ginger root 1 inch in length, minced or grated (you can use jarred fresh ginger or use 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes (You can use chicken breast tenders and skip cutting the chicken)
4 tablespoons butter (unsalted is best)
4 garlic cloves, minced or put through garlic press
1 jalapeno chile minced, optional (or more if you like it spicy)
4 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon garam masala (McCormick makes garam masala, but it is much less expensive at an Indian market.)
1 teaspoon salt
24 ounces of tomato sauce (3 8-oz cans)
2 cup heavy whipping cream (You can use half and half, whole milk, fat free cream, or evaporated milk, but cream tastes the best!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Prepare marinade by combining all ingredients except chicken in a medium bowl. Thread chicken on bamboo skewers, place skewers in a 9×13 casserole dish, and top with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (overnight is best). After marinading meat, remove chicken from the fridge and discard marinade. Grill or broil chicken until cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Prepare sauce by melting butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, optional. Cook for one minute. Stir in coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala, and salt. Cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add cooked chicken to the sauce. simmer 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, optional, and serve with rice, naan, or pita bread.
Here’s my photo step-by-step. It’s not as detailed as it normally is, because I wasn’t planning to post this recipe. However, my friend, Kristina (who wrote a guest post you can find here) said I should post it. So, here it is.
Remember that I said this dish saves me money? It’s a pricy dish, but it still loads less than buying it at a restaurant. I doubled it, because we had guests over for dinner, so keep that in mind. Here’s a breakdown of my costs:
Chicken – $13.14
Cream – $3.89
Greek Yogurt – $3.98
Butter – $0.63
Spices, lemon juice, ginger, and garlic – $3.00 (This is a generous estimate, because I don’t remember what I paid for some of the spices. I think it’s actually a little under $2, but I didn’t want to underestimate.)
Tomato sauce – $1.50
Total cost for doubled recipe = $26.14
That’s a bit pricy for a home cooked main dish for dinner, so let’s look at the cost of the same dish at the local Indian restaurants.
Tandoori Grill – $12.95 per entree (need at least 6 to equal the amount of food I cooked) x 6 = $77.70
Karma – $14.95 per entree (need at least 6 to equal the amount of food I cooked) x 6 = $89.70
My cost ($26.14) versus the cost of a restaurant ($77.70-89.70). I save $51.56 – $63.56!
That’s a significant savings! Granted, this is a time consuming dish, but saving 66% – 71% is totally worth it to me!