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Lamb Tikka Masala, Chef Jon Ashton

Prep Your Pantry for Indian Classic Cuisine

This week on Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton, we’re forgoing subtle hints of flavor for the boldness of a classic Indian dish, marrying garam masala, tandoori spice, smoked paprika and other aromatic ingredients you’d expect to find when wandering the markets of Mumbai. It all melds together around tender lamb meat that melts in your mouth as freshly baked naan bread gathers the spare sauce. Tikka masala is a favorite the world over, from India to Britain and far beyond, even to Crystal ships, where Waterside chefs have been known to create the elaborate spread upon request, even if it is not featured on the evening’s menu.

Fun fact: Traditional tikka masala is prepared with tandoori chicken, though can be prepared with lamb, which is higher in iron and zinc and often more tender.

The entire image has our mouths watering already – for, both, Sunday’s meal and explorations of India and all of her delectable temptations. Until we can explore this storied land of ancient traditions (culinary and otherwise), join Chef Jon Ashton in the kitchen and cook along LIVE this Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m. ET on the Crystal Facebook page.

Lamb Tikka Masala with Naan Bread 
By Chef Jon Ashton


Lamb Marinade 
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoons tandoori spice
3 garlic cloves, pureed (use garlic press or Microplane)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, pureed (use Microplane)
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds lamb leg sirloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

Tikka Masala Sauce 
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 24 oz Rao’s tomato sauce
1 can coconut milk


Whisk together first 5 ingredients for marinade in a large bowl. Add lamb pieces and toss to evenly coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight in refrigerator. 

For the sauce: 

Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook until slightly golden. Add spices and tomato paste and stir together for 30 seconds. Add stock, tomato sauce and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and reduce sauce until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning.


Preheat broiler 10 minutes before ready to cook. 

Remove lamb from marinade and place on an oven tray lined with a cooling rack. Spray lamb with vegetable oil spray and broil on top shelf until golden. Turn lamb over and broil other side. 

Add, lamb to cooked and seasoned masala sauce and serve with rice and naan bread. 

Simple Naan Bread

2 cups All Purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk milk, egg, sugar and canola oil. Add wet ingredients to flour bowl and make dough. Remove dough bowl from bowl and knead for a few minutes. Place back in bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature for 2-4 hours.

When you’re ready to roll out the dough, make sure you have two bowls on your counter: one with extra flour in it, and one with water. Separate the dough into 4 equal portions and lightly roll each one in the bowl of extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.

Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, narrower at the top than at the bottom. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough.

Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s nearly smoking.

Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans, flip-flopping it from one hand to the other to lightly dampen it. Lay dough in skillet. Once the dough starts to bubble, turn the bread over. Cook for additional minute until lightly colored. 

Serve plain or brush with garlic butter (melt 3 tablespoons minced garlic with 1 stick butter)

Makes 4

Explore India aboard Crystal Cruises in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

Crystal invites travelers to book now and save with added peace of mind and flexibility as we look ahead to sailing together again.

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