Chicken tikka masala is a dish of marinated and broiled chunks of chicken in a creamy, spice-infused tomato sauce. Alongside the requisite basmati rice, buttered peas and naan, it makes a fabulous family feast. This version is terrific for entertaining since it can be made entirely ahead of time — and it’s also a great intro to Indian food for kids, as it’s not too spicy.
For a dish with such a complex flavors, chicken tikka masala is surprisingly easy to make: one hour start to finish, plus just an hour of marinating time. Most of the ingredients are pantry and fridge staples, with the exception of garam masala, a fragrant Indian spice blend typically made from peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. It’s available at some large grocery stores (McCormick makes it as part of their Gourmet Collection), but if your regular supermarket doesn’t carry it, you can always find it at Whole Foods or substitute curry powder.