Friday, October 12, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala

Tonight we had one of my favorite meals -- chicken tikka masala. Have you heard of it? It's not well known in the Midwest U.S. where I live, but it's said to be the most popular dish in England. At the most basic level, it's chicken in a spicy tomato and cream sauce. When The Mr. first suggested we try it, I was a bit skeptical. Thankfully he's great at pushing our eating boundaries, because now I crave it regularly. Do give it a try if you haven't before! We've made if for guests a couple times, and it's been a real winner.

There are many variations out there, but I have no reason to try anything other than this one by my favorite recipe source, Cook's Illustrated. We serve ours over basmati rice. For an additional grain (because who doesn't need more carbs?), naan is an excellent add-on.


Chicken Tikka

1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium garlic gloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger*

Masala Sauce

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger*
1 fresh serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, fresh minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp garam masala**
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Basmati Rice

2 cups basmati rice  (14 oz.)
2 Tbsp butter
3 1/3 cups water
1 tsp salt


1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt 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 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; 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.

3.  FOR THE RICE: Rinse and drain rice. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in water and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.

4. While sauce simmers and rice cooks, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 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 foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, around 10-24 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

5. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then chop; stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust salt, and serve over basmati rice.

* We have always used ground ginger rather than fresh
** This is mixture of spices, which you can find in the spice aisle at the grocery


Have you tried chicken tikka masala before? If so, do you make it yourself? If not, I highly encourage you to give it a whirl! I'm afraid to order it in a restaurant, because I love this recipe so, so much!


1 comment:

  1. Ahh yes, Chicken Tikka - it is indeed England's most loved dish! lol Bizarre no? Anyway, curry in general is hugely popular here and we've found the best curries are the ones you make at home. If you get them at an Indian restaurant, they normally use Ghee which is clarified butter. It's soooo fatty (and you'll normally see it swimming at the top of your dish) - EURRGHH!

    We use this recipe and substitute the beef for chicken and use chicken stock instead of beef stock: We also sometimes use a combination of lamb and chicken which is my favourite (I don't think I ever ate lamb prior to this recipe).

    It's GORGEOUS and has become a regular on our dinner rotation! It's also pretty healthy. We serve it with basmati rice (no butter required, just make it like you would normal rice).

    Also, I would recommend using the fresh ginger - it makes a huge difference to the freshness of a recipe. Getting all the different spices is a bit of a pain but once you have them, you can really have some fun with Indian cooking.

    Yum Yum!!



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