Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

Have you had this before?  I had it for the first time a few months ago and loved it.  My mom came into town and took us out to an Indian restaurant for dinner.  It was delicious!  I knew it was something I'd like to try at home.  The flavors were so complex.  I really enjoyed this recipe.  It was a little involved, but it was something fun to try and will be something we make again for sure.  The sauce got better the days following when we ate the leftovers, so I would even recommend making it ahead of time.  The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and then just gently reheated before you add the chicken the day of.

*Note: I read up a bit about garam masala - the spice used in this dish (and many other Indian dishes).  There is a great variance in what is in it, so this may alter what your end product tastes like.  I went to an Indian food store here in the city (so cheap) and asked the ladies there what they recommended.  They showed me one they liked and so I got it.  After we tried it, I felt like the dish needed about twice as much, so that's why there is a range there.  Taste the sauce as you go, and add more as you see fit.  Also, if you can't find garam masala, the recipe indicates that you can combine 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper and use that as a substitute.

Chicken Tikka Masala
(serves 4-6)

1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1 c. plain whole-milk yogurt
2 T. vegetable oil
1 T. grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced

3 T. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile, ribs & seeds removed, flesh minced
1 T. tomato paste
1-2 T. garam masala*
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar
salt, to taste
2/3 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

For the chicken:  Combine salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in small bowl.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres.  Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, oil, ginger, and garlic together in large bowl and set aside.

For the sauce: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8-10 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, serrano, tomato paste, and garam masala and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in cream and return to simmer.  Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

To cook the chicken:  While sauce simmers, position oven rack 6 inches from heating element and heat broiler.  Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan.  Discart excess yogurt mixture.  Broil chicken until thickest part registers 160 degrees and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10-18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

Let chicken rest  minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce).  Stir in cilantro, season with salt to taste and additional garam masala if needed, and serve over rice.  (Sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days and gently reheated before adding hot chicken).

1 comment:

Liz Johnson said...

We made this last night and it was SO GOOD! I actually forgot to buy yogurt, so I just pan-grilled the chicken and added the chicken's spices to the sauce, and it was fabulous. Thanks for this one!