Tikka Meatballs

This recipe is one that I have used several times without posting (oops).  We both love Indian food, but to really get that fantastic flavor with the meat, it needs to be stewed with spices, or marinated, and we usually don’t plan well enough for that.  That’s where the meatball can be a meal saver.  Just dump in some spices, mix it up, and bake, and in less than an hour, you have wonderfully seasoned meat ready for the curry of your choice.  I have made these with turkey, chicken and with a lamb and beef mixture, and they’re all wonderful.  In the images shown, I was making turkey meatballs for a tikka masala.


  • 2 lb ground meat (turkey, chicken, lamb or beef)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup curry paste*
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs (as needed for texture)
  • Juice of 1 lime (when using poultry)

*The specific curry pastes used will depend on what meat your making, and what the final destination curry will be.  For poultry, I like tandoori pastes:


We picked up both of these at the local Indian market, but the larger Kroger’s in our area also will carry some of the Patak’s products.  For red meat, I use a mixture of mild curry paste and a rogan josh paste, and omit the lime.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients in a large bowl by hand, until well mixed, and the meat sticks to itself, rather than the sides of the bowl.

Portion into walnut sized balls, and place on greased sheet tray.


Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the meatballs over around the 20 minute mark. Remove from oven, and try not to eat them all before they can get into the tikka masala.


At this point, you can either toss them into your sauce, serve with grilled onion and pepper and naan for a lazy tikka or tandoori meal, or bag and freeze them for future curries.img_5405

Recently, we’ve been using recipes from The Curry Guy, and have been thoroughly pleased with the results (as can be seen in the tikka masala above).  The curry sauce base he recommends is a little time consuming initially, but absolutely worth making and freezing if you plan on making Indian at home regularly. Once you have the sauce base, assembling the curry is no more difficult than opening a jar of pre-made sauce and dumping that in the saucepan. I grabbed the e-book on Kindle, and it’s now our go-to curry cookbook.  It’s a particularly useful resource for folks like us, who have only really been exposed to restaurant style Indian, which is different than the regional Indian recipes and cookbooks we’ve tried.

Serve with rice, naan, chapati, or just a fork and a straw (we won’t judge).

Chicken Tikka Masala

Tonight we decided to make some chicken tikka masala, as we had some chicken that needed using, and have a book of recipes that we’ve been wanting to try. The book is India Cookbook, and, while the book is nice, on the whole, it suffers from a common problem that many of the books we’ve seen published by Phaidon press have, in that the proofreading is a bit hit and miss. This recipe is an example of this: two of the ingredients (tomatoes and onions) have no amount by them, so the amounts here are what we guessed at. It turned out well, so we’re going to post the recipe here for future reference.

Chicken TIkka Masala

2.25 lbs Boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or ginger paste)
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp ghee
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (or a heaping tsp of ginger paste)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder (we used an Indian red powdered chili we found at a local Indian market. It’s tasty, but warmer than we originally anticipated)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional-we omitted this)
1 14 oz can tomato puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp ground almonds (we had cashew butter, so we used about half a tablespoon of that)

Mix marinade ingredients in a plastic bag, add cubed chicken, and mix to insure good coverage. Marinate overnight (or, if you’re like us, for two hours). After marinating is over, prepare skewers for grilling (ie, soak bamboo skewers), thread the chicken onto them, and throw them on a preheated grill. Cook until just done through. While that is cooking, chop onion, and saute that with garlic and ginger in ghee until soft, about 10 minutes. Add additional spices and toast for a minute before adding the tomatoes, sugar (if using) and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until thickened. Add cream, and nuts and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add chicken chunks, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

We served this with palak paneer (not homemade-we’re still working on that one), and basmati rice.

We did half the overall amount of both ghee and cream from what was printed in the book. If you want the more authentic* experience, double those and enjoy.

*As authentic as Chicken Tikka Masala can be

Murgh Makhani – Butter Chicken.

This is a relative of chicken tikka masala, but slightly less tomatoey. Personally, I prefer the chicken tikka masala, but this is quite good, doesn’t require pre-marinating and pre-cooking the chicken.

This was also prepped tonight, with the Dal Makhani.

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken, in 1″ chunks.
2/3 cup of regular or greek yogurt
1/2 cup ground almonds (we cheated and used 1/4 cup ground almonds, and 1/4 cup cashew butter).
2 medium onions, chopped
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
1 chopped garlic clove
1.5 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1.25 tsp salt
4 cardamom pods (green)
1 dried bay leaf
2 tbsp cilantro
4 tbsp cream
4 tbsp butter or ghee


Mix the dry spices, nuts, garlic-ginger paste, tomatoes, chicken, and yogurt in a bowl and set aside.

Sautee the onion in ghee or butter for a few minutes, until lip and slightly golden, add the chopped garlic glove with about 30 seconds of sauteeing remaining.

Add the chicken mixture, and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add water as needed to adjust the consistency.

Add the cilantro and cream, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, ensuring the chicken is cooked and the sauce is at a consistency you want.

Serve over basmati rice, with naan.

Under Pressure 2: Dal Makhani.

Katie and I have made this several times, and really enjoyed it. If using a pressure cooker, be careful not to use too much water, or you will have to reduce it once the pressure is off. You can prep this without a pressure cooker, but the cook time is at least an hour. Also, we often substitute canned kidney beans, rinsed well, since dried ones don’t cook at the same rate as the lentils. We picked this up from a blog called hookedonheat.com, and have modified it a bit.

1/2 cup whole black lentils and a handful of dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight, or do a pressure cooker ‘soak’.
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 can do diced, canned tomatos
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp cream
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cooking oil
fresh chopped cilantro
water, as needed
salt, to taste

Put oil in the pressure cooker and saute onions until lightly browned. Stir in salt, chili powder, ginger-garlic paste, and tomato paste and fry for a few seconds.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes to combine well. Add lentils and beans, and water to just cover. Pressure cook for 15 to 20 minutes, so that lentils are soft and done. Stir in cream and bring to a boil.

In a small sautee pan, make a tadka by heating butter and sauteeing whole garlic cloves (slit in the middle) for about 30 seconds. Stir the tadka into the lentils and garnish with cilantro.

Serve over basmati rice, with naan.

Dal Makhani

Recently, I’ve been wanting to experiment more with lentils, so Chris and I decided to try the recipe at this site. We followed the method, but made a few changes on the spices. We left out the fennel seeds, as I’m not a huge fan of the flavor, and also left out the hing because we couldn’t find any. We used about 2 tomatoes worth of diced, and a good teaspoon of tomato paste as well, and we replaced half the cream with yogurt. We also only soaked the lentils for about 1 hour before cooking, and the beans got an even shorter version of the quick soak on the package. The end result was a really nice, thick and creamy lentil dish, not hot, but pleasantly spiced. We served it with naan and rice, although in the future, I think we’ll just do naan.

Chicken Tikka Masala

A few days ago, we made some chicken tikka masala that was pretty darn tasty, but not for the faint of taste-bud.

1 package of Shan Chicken Tikka Spice blend We followed the marinade on the back of the box, except-
8 chicken breasts (we just got a family-size pack of boneless skinless, rather than whole chickens)

2 cans of Heinz Tomato soup (Yep, Heinz. Look in a British foods section-it should be there…right next to some scary canned haggis, clotted cream and mushy peas. Yummm).
Cilantro, to taste

Marinate the chicken as instructed, then grill until cooked through. Heat the soup, and add the cooked, cubed chicken. Simmer about 10 minutes, and serve over some basmati rice, with chopped cilantro on top.

We also made some naan which we cooked on the grill and it turned out really well. Just a little warning, the chicken is rather warm, so if you’re a spice-neophyte, use a partial packet of the spices.

Rogan Josh and Saffron/Cardamom rice.

Tonight for dinner I prepared a beef rogan josh, using the Penzey’s rogan josh spice.

The recipe is that which is recommended in the Penzey’s catalog, approximately.

We used:
1.5lbs beef bottom round stew meat (lamb would be better if it is easily available to you)
1/4 cup veggie oil (ghee would work nicely if you have it)
1 large onion, chopped
4tbsp Penzey’s Rogan Josh powder (frankly, any nice curry powder will yield a nice curry off this basic recipe)
2 green cardamom pods (optional – the powder has cardamom, but they recommend more)
cayenne pepper (again, optional to taste – I think the powder is warm enough as is)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1tsp salt

Brown the beef in the oil, over medium heat add the onion and let it cook through. Add the rogan josh powder and salt and let it cook, stirring, for a few seconds, then add the water and yogurt. reduce heat to low, and let it barely simmer for 1 to 2 hours. We left it covered part of the time, and open part of the time. Covering helped tenderize the meat a bit. You want a nice thick sauce, so letting it reduce is ok, but remember that you’ll probably want to add a bit of water now and then if you’re letting it simmer the full two hours.

We served it with the following rice:
roughly 1:1 Basmati to water
1tbsp butter
.25g saffron powder
3 green cardamom pods
5 cloves

Toast the rice in the butter lightly (a couple of minutes) add water and spices, cook rice until the water is gone.

The penzey’s rogan josh powder is really really nice. I’m very impressed. It was a nice, thick dish when it was done, and it was nicely balanced without any of the spices really overpowering any of the others. I’m looking forward to trying out their vindaloo spice.