Friday, January 2, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

My mom introduced this recipe to me. Although it's technically Indian food, it is part of the local cuisine in the parts of Tanzania where she does her mission work. This has become one of my family's favorite meals. Everyone likes it - even the small ones. I have to remember to keep a few pieces of the chicken out of the sauce for Robbie, but even he likes it. And Robbie is my Mikey... He's extremely picky... *sigh* But this is one meal that everyone looks forward to.

I serve this with naan, when I can get it. At some point, I'll make it from scratch, but I haven't gotten there yet. And I make a double batch, which serves all 8 of us, with enough for a bit of leftovers the next day. And truthfully, it gets better with age... I have modified the original recipe (of course... *grin*), and I'm very satisfied with it. I hope you will be, too.

Chicken Tikka Masala
serves 4-6

This dish is best prepared with whole milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 t ground coriander, ¼ t ground cardamom, ¼ t ground cinnamon, and ½ t ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an air-tight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
½ t cayenne
2 t table salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, and cut into 1”-2” cubes
2 c whole-milk yogurt
2 T vegetable oil
2 med garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 t)
1T fresh grated ginger

Masala Sauce
3 T vegetable oil
1 med onion, diced fine (about 1 ¼ c)
2 med garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 t)
2 t fresh grated ginger
1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
1T tomato paste
1T garam masala
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2t sugar
½ t salt
2/3 c heavy cream
¼ c chopped cilantro leaves

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt in a zip-top bag. Add chicken, and toss to coat. Place bag on a plate, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, and oil. 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, 8-10 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 a 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. While the sauce simmers, adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6” from the heating element) and preheat broiler. Using tongs, dop chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with a thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on a wire rack set in a foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt. Broil chicken until thickens parts read 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and exterior is charred in spots, 10-18 minutes, flipping chicken half-way through cooking time.
4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, remove from rack and stir into warm sauce. Do not simmer chicken in sauce. Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve over basmati rice.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated recipe, Sept/Oct 2007

1 comment:

  1. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of Eric and my favorite Indian dishes. Can't wait to try your recipe!