With its spicy tomato sauce and mix of warming Indian spices, ginger, chiles and garlic, chicken tikka masala creates a hearty dish that needs a light and refreshing dessert to finish the meal. In India the dish is called chicken makhanwalla, with "makhan" meaning butter in Hindi, another testament to its richness. Keep Indian flavors for your light, dessert course by making a traditional Indian dessert or adding Indian ingredients to an American dessert.
Any fresh fruit dish provides a welcome, cooling relief from the spices in chicken tikka masala. If you want to be thoroughly authentic, serve mangoes with sweet sticky rice or a simple fruit salad with melon, oranges, grapefruit and grapes, seasoned with a little lemon juice and honey. Or serve papayas with lime juice, honey and toasted coconut sprinkled on top.
After brightly colored and spicy chicken tikka masala, creamy tapioca pudding or rice pudding, also called kheer in India, give your eyes and your palate a soothing change of pace -- they're comfort foods Indian-style. Traditionally flavored with cardamom in India, any rice pudding recipe will work; add raisins, toasted pistachios and coconut milk for half or all the the milk called for to give the pudding Indian flavors.
Cooling Ice Cream
Called kulfi, Indian ice cream is traditionally served in special molds and is another refreshing finish to a chicken tikka masala meal. It's thicker than American ice cream because it isn't churned to incorporate air into the milk mixture. To give your own ice cream an Indian twist, top it with a drizzle of honey, chopped and toasted pistachios and toasted, shredded coconut. If you make your own ice cream, use coconut milk instead of cream and add grated fresh ginger.
In India, pancakes are often served for dessert. Their sweetness and smooth texture give your dessert a soothing contrast from the bold main course. Make small pancakes with your own recipe and simply add Indian flavors to the pancake batter, such as coconut milk and about 1/2 cup of shredded coconut. Serve the pancakes with honey flavored with a little saffron if you would like. Or make malpura, which are pancakes made with ricotta cheese instead of milk and served with cardamom syrup and chopped pistachios.