Dinner in Minutes

Quick-cooking Indian food? The secret’s in the spices


Chicken tikka masala with a side of caraway-spiced rice.
Chicken tikka masala with a side of caraway-spiced rice. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

Hungry for Indian flavors? Here’s a shortcut dinner.

Delicately spiced Indian food takes time to make. For this dinner, I captured the essence of Tikka Masala, chicken in a creamy tomato sauce, so I can enjoy Indian food that can be quickly prepared. It’s an Indian dish with an English pedigree.

Spices are the secret. It’s worth gathering a few together for this dish. Garam masala is an important addition to the recipe. It’s a combination of spices usually made with cardamom, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg. Use it at the end of the cooking time to retain its aroma. It is available in the spice section of the market. Try it over other foods such as vegetables or rice.


Fred Tasker’s wine suggestions: “Chicken Tikka Masala is spicy, requiring a wine with a hint of sweetness. Try a Riesling.”

Helpful Hints

▪ Spices keep about six months. Buy new ones if yours are older.

▪ The chicken tastes great on the next day. Make extra if you have time.


▪ Prepare all ingredients first.

▪ Start chicken.

▪ While chicken cooks, make rice.

Shopping List

To buy: 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1 small bottle ground ginger, 1 small bottle ground coriander, 1 small bottle turmeric, 1 small bottle garam masala, 1 small bottle caraway seeds, 2 tomatoes, 1 carton light cream, 1 package microwaveable rice and 1 bunch cilantro.

Staples: Canola oil, onion, minced garlic, no-salt-added chicken broth, salt and black peppercorns.

Linda Gassenheimer: @LGassenheimer

Chicken Tikka Masala

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer.

2 teaspoons canola oil

3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup sliced onion

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 cups diced tomato

3/4 cup no-salt-added chicken broth

3 tablespoons light cream

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Heat oil in a medium-size, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion. Sauté 2 minutes turning the chicken to brown on all sides. Add ginger, coriander, turmeric and garlic. Sauté 1 minute. Add tomato and broth and cook 5 minutes. Ad cream and garam masala. Stir to combine and cook gently 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice.

Per serving: 381 calories (39 percent from fat), 16.6 g fat (5.8 g saturated, 6.2 g monounsaturated), 152 mg cholesterol, 43.4 g protein, 15.2 g carbohydrates, 3.9 g fiber, 157 mg sodium

Yield: 2 servings

Caraway Rice

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer.

1 package microwave rice (1 1/2 cups cooked)

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2-cup rice and reserve remaining rice for another time. Add oil, caraway seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.

Per serving: 213 calories (27 percent from fat), 6.3 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 3.6 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.4 g protein, 35.2 g carbohydrates, 3.8 g fiber, 8 mg sodium

Yield: 2 servings