As part of my ongoing efforts to recreate my favorite takeout recipes I decided to tackle my local Indian restaurant's menu. Admittedly making chicken tikka masala requires more time than preparing a bowl of lo mein because the chicken needs to marinade and roast. However, it is certainly worth the time it takes to prepare it from scratch because then you can control how much of a kick you want your dish to have. The chicken marinade can also be prepared in the morning (frankly, the longer the chicken sits in the marinade the better) and it will be much easier to finish up the dish when you get back from work.

Chicken tikka masala

Serves 4

Chicken marinade

3 cubed chicken breasts

½ cup plain yogurt

6 cloves minced garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons paprika

Sauce

3 ½ cups tomato sauce

1 ¼ cups water

1 cup heavy cream

1 large, chopped onion

8 cloves minced garlic

3 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons minced ginger

1 tablespoon tomato purée

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons coriander

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons garam masala

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least one hour and at most overnight. After the chicken has marinaded (the longer the better), preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put the chunks of chicken skewers over a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges brown. While the chicken is cooking, sauté the onions, garlic and ginger for the sauce in a large pot. Once tender add all of the spices and stir until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and purée to the pot with the water. Bring it to a boil and cook for five minutes. Stir in the cream. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the skewers and stir it into the sauce pot for a few minutes before serving. Serve over basmati rice.

This recipe can be adapted to give the sauce more kick by increasing the chili powder to taste.