Monday, June 18, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve only made Indian food once before, but it still is one of my favorite recipes on this blog: Butter Chicken. Given that, it’s strange that I never tried another Indian dish in all this time. I blame it on Garam Masala. It’s a spice mixture that tends to appear in a lot of Indian recipes, and it’s one spice that I don’t have in my obsessive hoarder alert of a spice shelf. But, I finally got my grubby little hands on a small jar of it at Penzey’s Spices, and set off to make Chicken Tikka Masala straight away. I’m glad I did.

This dish is actually a lot like Butter Chicken, but the Garam Masala gives it a sweeter flavor. It’s also not as spicy, although you can adjust the spice levels. My husband felt that this had a more present tomato flavor as well, but I didn’t notice that. I found the recipe on Tasty Kitchen.

There is one thing I will change the next time I make this. The chicken cooking process just didn’t work for me, and I don’t think the chicken itself got incredibly flavorful. I think the next time I will cut it in cubes before marinating, then skewer it and grill it to get that good char. I gather that this is normally made in a very hot Tandoor oven, so I think a grill might simulate that more closely than a broiler. I also cut down on the cream because I don’t think you need that much.

3 whole Chicken Breasts
Kosher Salt
Ground Coriander
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Large Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 piece (approximately 2 Inches) Chunk Fresh Ginger, minced
3 Tbsps Garam Masala
1 Chili pepper (I used Serrano), diced small (optional)
1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes
2 Tsps Sugar
1 cup Heavy Cream

This is the way the original recipe says to do the chicken, but check out my note above—I think that change will make a difference. Sprinkle the chicken breasts on both sides with salt, coriander and cumin. Then pour the yogurt over them and spread it around so they are coated. Cook them under the broiler on a wire rack set above a foil lined baking sheet. Five to seven minutes on each side until they are just cooked through and are lightly charred. Remove them and set aside to cool for now.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter before adding in the diced onion. Cook over medium high heat until the onions are slightly brown. Add in the garlic and ginger, plus a tablespoon of salt. Add in the Garam Masala and also your chili pepper if you like things to be spicy. Stir them in, and then pour in the whole can of tomatoes (including the juice) and the sugar. Stir well, scraping the bottom to deglaze, and then let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime you can chop up the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and now is probably a good time to start your rice. Add in the chicken, cream and a handful of chopped cilantro, and your second favorite Indian dish is ready to serve!

(click for printable recipe)

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