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News / Life / Food

Shortcut captures essence of dish

By Linda Gassenheimer, Tribune News Service
Published: November 15, 2023, 6:00am

I love Indian-flavored food and wanted to make a quick dinner at home. This delicately spiced food can take time to make. So, I created a shortcut dinner that captures the essence of the popular Indian dish Tikka Masala, known for its creamy tomato sauce and aromatic spices.

Garam masala is an important addition. It’s a combination of spices usually made with cardamom, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg. I use it at the end of the cooking time so it retains its aroma. It is available in the spice section of the market. You can also try it over other foods such as vegetables or rice.


  • Spices keep for about six months. Buy new ones if yours are older.
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic can be used instead of 4 crushed garlic cloves.
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger can be used instead of 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger.

Shrimp Tikka Masala

Yields 2 servings. Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/2 cup sliced onion

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

4 garlic gloves crushed

2 cups canned reduced-sodium diced tomato, drained

1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken broth

3/4 pound peeled shrimp

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a medium-size, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion. Saute 2 minutes. Add ginger, turmeric and garlic. Saute 1 minute. Add tomato and broth and cook 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add shrimp, cream and garam masala. Stir to combine and cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice.

Per serving: 327 calories (39 percent from fat), 14.1 g fat (5.8 g saturated, 5.1 g monounsaturated), 301 mg cholesterol, 38.2 g protein, 15.1 g carbohydrates, 5.6 g fiber, 248 mg sodium.

Caraway Rice

Yields 2 servings. Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

1 package microwave rice (1 1/2-cups cooked)

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2-cup rice and reserve the remaining rice for another time. Add oil, caraway seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Divide in half and serve with the shrimp.

Per serving: 237 calories (24 percent from fat), 64 g fat (0.7 g saturated, 3.6 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.8 g protein, 40.3 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 6 mg sodium.