Chicken tikka masala and reclaiming my youth

Chicken Tikka Masala with white guy saag paneer and basmati rice

Tonight’s meal was meant to be an enticement.  An enticement to get some of my friends to try out a local neighborhood bar around the corner from my house who was having an “80s vs 90s” night.  I had been to an 80s night several years back there and a had a BLAST!   Alas, they passed even with the promise of a cooked meal.  But my roommate and a friend who just had knee surgery recently lucked out!

The meal – chicken tikka masala.  The inspiration – Aarti Sequeria (yes…AGAIN!) (Her recipe I used is at   I had made some of her recipes the last month and had made a batch of garam masala (dry spice blend) from scratch, along with a a jar of garlic ginger paste so I thought her recipe would be super quick to do.  Along with the fact I saw a video that showed it being produced in less than 2 min.  Alas…through the magic of editing all the hard steps had been cut out and it took a little longer!  The results were well worth it though.  I made a few changes though, didn’t put the cream in (those of you who know me know why…enough said), and used skinless chicken breast chunks instead of thighs.

I needed a veggie side and had some spinach still from the salads I made the other night.  I was going to just saute it with some of the garlic ginger paste I had in the fridge and olive oil.  I STARTED to do that and then though…hmm…throw in some garbanzos.  And then, “hey wait, isn’t saag paneer cooked spinach with fresh Indian cheese? I’ve got some cottage cheese in the fridge.  What the hey…why not?!”  So I set off to experiment, and what you see in the picture is what I got.  And it was delicious!  Although I bed Indian grandmothers across the world are turning in the graves.  Recipe/instructions below:

White Guy Saag Panir:

  • 1 large pack of spinach
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger, minced
  • 1.5 (I’m guessing that’s how much I put in) cups of low-fat cottage cheese
  • Lemon

Pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a pan and saute garlic and ginger until fragrant.  Throw garbanzos in and warm through.  Slowly work in the spinach (a LOT of cooked spinach cooks down to a little), then stir in the cottage cheese and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Salt and pepper to taste!

I served everything with some basmati rice and had a great meal before doing some booty shaking to some great 80s’ music at the Whistlestop with some great friends.  The roommate, who self-admittedly suffers from “mid-western-white-guy-can’t dance” syndrome even got his grove thang on!  Was it the spices and flavor of the tikka masala that got him going?!  lol

By the time we left the bar sometime around 1 AM (WOO HOO!  I didn’t need to reclaim my youth, it was never lost!!) it was clear to me that the 80s will ALWAYS beat the 90s,  always go with your instinct, try something new, and those who didn’t come to say hi to their youth lost out!   Now, why are my ears ringing and how do I get this ache out my back?!  MORE COFFEE PLEASE!


3 thoughts on “Chicken tikka masala and reclaiming my youth

  1. Yumm. Have been trying to find a Saag recipe for sometime that is not overwhelmed with milk products. Low fat cottage cheese? Brilliant! Have to get together and bust our 80’s moves more often! 80’s ruled the school last night!

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