Baked Chicken Tikka

Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes
Impresses: 4–6

Spices are your passport in the kitchen. They take you to different regions, countries and continents, and inspire not only food, but culture. In India, spices are used liberally to make an impact on family and community tables. This twist on two traditional dishes — butter chicken and chicken tikka — brings bold flavors together with Greek-yogurt marinated chicken and creamy rice.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1½ cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
3 cloves (1 tablespoon) garlic, grated
1 inch (1 tablespoon) ginger, grated
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
1½ cups white basmati rice*
3½ cups chicken stock
10-ounce can tomato sauce
15-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 cup cream or half and half
½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)

Combine chicken, yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper and nutmeg into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Close the top and shake to completely coat the chicken. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Heat oven to 350 F.

Slice 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and add to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle rice over the butter, then add in the stock, tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine and evenly spread across the dish.

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the bag and place on top of the rice.

Cover with foil and bake on middle rack.

After 45 minutes, remove foil and chicken breasts. Stir cream into the rice mixture, then place chicken breast back on top and dot with remaining butter.

Bake an additional 10 minutes uncovered. 

Serve with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.

*You can substitute any long-grain white rice.