Chicken Tikka Masala

I think this may be our third recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala on Needs More Butter. So why another one? Yeah, this one’s for the Instant Pot. 


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast


  1. Saute the onion and yellow pepper in the butter 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, spices, and salt and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and coconut milk and stir.
  4. Add chicken.
  5. Set Instant Pot to Poultry setting and cook.
  6. When cycle is complete, remove chicken and shred.
  7. Use immersion blender to puree sauce and add the shredded chicken back to sauce to toss.
  8. Serve over rice.


Roasted Cauliflower Soup w/ Turmeric

After accidentally buying a second head of cauliflower, I looked for ways to use up and was intrigued by a roasted cauliflower soup. I combined two recipes, and it resulted in a really delicious soup for a chilly spring night. Total win here. My whole family enjoyed it.


1 head garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, diced
5 cups vegetable stock
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 t turmeric
1 t curry
1/2 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

Cut head of garlic, about 1/4-inch, to expose tops of garlic cloves. Place garlic head, cut side up, in a sheet of foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Fold up all 4 sides of the foil and cover tightly.

Place cauliflower florets in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, turmeric, and curry. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil; gently toss to combine. Spread cauliflower out onto baking sheet. Place garlic onto the baking sheet. Place into oven and roast until cauliflower and garlic is tender and golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool before squeezing cloves from skin.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in vegetable stock, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

Stir in cauliflower and garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is tender and falling apart, an additional 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached.
Stir in heavy cream; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more vegetable stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately.

Tandoori Chicken

I found this one on Instagram, and I don’t want to lose it. It’s a keeper — easy, easy and tasty.

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I used garam masala, and it was great)
1/2-1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (our family likes it on the less-spicy side)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (I use regular, as I don’t care for smoked, but that’s personal preference)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I didn’t have this; I’m sure it would only add)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 14-ounce can (or 1 1/2 cups) coconut milk
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

chicken (original recipe calls for 9 thighs; I used 4 leg quarters)

1. Whisk together all ingredients (except chicken) and place in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Add chicken and massage marinade into chicken. Place the mixture in the fridge to marinate for 6 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. On the stovetop, heat a cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet) on medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of olive or coconut oil. Brown the chicken, skin side down, for approximately 5 minutes or until the chicken in a nice golden brown.
4. Turn the chicken over, skin side up. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken.
5. Bake chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. (Mine took about 40 minutes, but the original recipe said 20, so…)

Red Lentil Coconut Curry


This recipe, from the Simply in Season cookbook, is super easy to make, despite its long list of ingredients. It is as tasty as it sounds. It makes a ton: plenty to share with a friend since I’m not so sure how it would freeze. The boys asked for more cauliflower, and Clara has been gobbling it down for every meal for the last few days.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or, if time allows, place can of coconut milk in freezer for 20 minutes before starting to cook. Open can and remove solidified coconut butter from the top to use in sautéing)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 5 cups water (or broth or a combination)
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 head cabbage, cut into  1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1–2 cups peas (optional)


  1. In a large soup pot, sauté onion in olive oil or coconut butter over medium-high heat until transparent but not browned.
  2. Add garlic, ginger root, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, pepper, red pepper, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook and stir constantly for 3 minutes (do not let onion and spices brown).
  3. Add coconut milk, tamari, and tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook lentils and water on medium to medium-high heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Add lentils with their liquid to soup pot.
  6. Add cauliflower, sweet potato, and cabbage to soup pot and cook over medium heat just until tender. If using peas, add at the end of the cooking time.
  7. Serve over brown rice with toppings (optional): Indian chutneys and pickles, fresh diced pears, roasted sunflower seeds, plain yogurt.

Chicken Biryani

Okay, I’m not going to lie. Biryani is an investment (timewise). No part of making it is difficult, but there are a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps. The good news, though, is that the end result is worth it. This recipe (adapted from this one) makes quite a lot, so invite a friend or be prepared for delicious leftovers (or both, actually). 

I served this with medium-boiled eggs (a hit with the kids), a simple raita (minus the cayenne, per personal preference), and even simpler roasted tomatoes.


  • 6 (or more) pieces of chicken, skinless (I used bone-in thighs this time, but you could use drumsticks or a whole cut-up chicken)


  • bunch of cilantro, leaves only, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste (in a tube in the produce section; I couldn’t find the two combined, so I used a tablespoon of each)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk (from a can; you’ll need more for the curry)
  • salt to taste


  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-inch chunk of ginger, minced
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped fine
  • ½ cup mint, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 6-7 whole cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 6-7 whole peppercorns
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 3 dry bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2  tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth (could also use water)
  • salt to taste


  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ small onion, julienned
  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 5 ½ cups of water or chicken broth
  • salt to taste


  • handful of cashews, roasted in ghee
  • lime wedges


  1. Combine the marinade ingredients. Make slits in the chicken, coat with the marinade, and let rest for a few hours or overnight.
  2. To make the curry, saute the onions, garlic, and ginger in oil until translucent. Remove from heat and cool. Mix together the cooked onions, cilantro, and mint. In a deep skillet, roast the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, star anise, and bay leaves) in ghee until their aromas are released. Return the onion mixture to the pan and cook until the oil starts separating. Add the dry spices (cumin, tumeric, and garam masala), sauté for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk and brothand bring to a boil. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook on medium until the meat is fully cooked. Let the curry cool until just warm.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Roast the whole spices (cloves, cardamom, and bay leaf) in ghee, and the sauté the onions in the same. When the onions are soft, add the Basmati rice and roast for a few minutes. Add water and salt and cook the rice until just done. Let it cool to warm. (I cooked the rice in my rice cooker.)
  4. When ready to assemble, spread the rice in a deep, oven-proof pan. Little by little add the curry and gently tossed until the rice is just wet. For 3 cups of raw rice, you will need about a cup and a half of the curry (and you’ll have about that much left over). Arrange the chicken pieces around the dish, cover with a bit rice, so they don’t dry out. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Check halfway through to see if the biryani is drying out. If so, add more curry and gently toss.
  5. To serve, scoop out the rice into a platter, arrange the chicken around and sprinkle roasted cashews over.

Chicken Tikka Masala

This has become my go-to for mercy meals — if the family likes Indian food and doesn’t need to cut out dairy, this is probably what I’ll bring. It also makes a great freezer meal.

Originally posted in March 2009: I saw this recipe a while ago on Bethany’s blog and finally decided to try it this week. Oh my. It was goo-ood. And, best of all, Simon ate it up (it’s hard to get him to eat, so this is definitely a keeper). I made a few substitutions from the original recipe to make it lighter (with Jason’s full knowledge).


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut in 1-inch cubes


  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, minced
  • 6 (6-inch) bamboo skewers


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (I omitted this, and it was just spicy enough for us)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk (the original recipe calls for the same amount of whipping cream)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade, add chicken pieces, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator (or for at least an hour).
  2. Thread chicken onto bamboo skewers, and grill or broil until thoroughly cooked (8 to 10 minutes).
  3. For the sauce, melt butter in a skillet and saute the garlic and jalapeno (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the spices and the tomato sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and coconut milk (or cream) and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and naan.

Aloo Gobi

Our Life Group went with an Indian-themed dinner this week and, boy oh boy, was it delicious. I picked this cauliflower and potato side dish from The New Indian Cooking Course. It was simple to prepare and very tasty.


  • 1lb potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1lb cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t chilli powder
  • 1/4 t ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t salt
  • chopped fresh coriander, to garnish

1. Parboil the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and fry the cumin seeds for 2 minutes until they begin to splutter. Add the chili and fry for another minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower florets and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes.

4. Add the potatoes and the ground spices and salt and cook for a further 7-10 minutes, or until both vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

**This recipe serves 4. I doubled it (roughly) and we served a lot more people with smallish portions. I didn’t have cumin seeds or coriander (we call it cilantro in US grocery stores) so I simply left them out. The dish was still incredibly flavorful.