From Leana: Chicken Tikka Masala

Posted by Leana Henderkott Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today, Lisa and I were scheduled to cook our Indian dishes, but unfortunately we were never able to connect. When I received her e-mail telling me that her phone was not charged, I could only smile, as I've fallen prey to the death of my cell phone far too many times. These sorts of incidents remind me that, despite our perceptions of others, each of us are subject to the demands of life that take us away from our simplest activities. For me, I viewed Lisa as the woman who planned carefully, executed flawlessly, and delivered without exception. It seems that, in this particular case, we are more alike than I thought.

We had agreed to make Rob's Chicken Tiki Masala featured on her blog site,

My project began last night when I marinated cubes of boneless, skinless chicken in a mixture of Greek yogurt, lemon juice and a series of spices of which the star was garam masala purchased from my local Indian market.

This morning I assembled my ingredients.

While the marinated chicken was baking, I prepared the sauce which was comprised of an onion, tomato puree, heavy whipping cream, and garam masala and other spices. I was intrigued by the technique used in Indian cooking whereby very simple spices are incorporated into the dish in stages. This ingenious and wonderful process is evidently why Indian cuisine is known for its depth of flavor. The sauce was then incorporated with a tomato-cream sauce in a crock pot where it cooked for about three hours.

The total time to prepare this dish was under an hour.

I then prepared the Indian Dahl with Spinach found on This dish incorporated earthy spices including turmeric, cumin , mustard seed and garam masala. If you have never tried Dahl, please try it, as the layers of flavors are almost decadent in a dish that is essentially lentils and spinach. I cannot describe the how fragrant my dishes were, but it was intoxicating. My house captured the fragrances of the earthy and the spicy; again a reminder of Lisa and me.

I served my dishes with Indian rice and Paratha (which I cheated by purchasing). The dishes were heaven on a plate.

I wish that Lisa and I were able to talk like we do while we were preparing our dishes, but because I knew that she was performing the very same activity at a time parallel to mine, I felt her kindred spirit cooking with me. During the day, I had wonderful conversations with two of our other "Peas", Este and Christy; and because we prepared our dishes using Rob's recipe, she was also a part of my day. I could not help but be pleased for the "new" friends that I have. Much like our friendships, the simplicity in construction creates a complexity of flavors that produces an aroma that made my house feel like a home.


  1. I LOVE it! I'm honored you guys chose my recipe for your first attempts at Indian cuisine~!

  2. Lisa Says:
  3. It was an awesome dish! Great pics and dialog Leana!

    Next time, we chat!!


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