Without a doubt, Indian fare is one of my favorite cuisines. I love the deep layers of flavors and spices—delicious.
But the reasons why I love it so much is also why I have never really prepared Indian food before. I was intimidated. Totally overwhelmed.
Of the scores of recipes I’ve reviewed, the ingredient lists have always thrown me off. A huge laundry list of spices—-all of which I knew were integral to the deep flavors that I loved so much. So whenever I had hankerings for Channa Masala, Curried Paneer, Samosas—-I would head straight to my favorite Indian spot and order up the goodies.
But then the other day I became set on making Homemade Naan for the first time. And in this gal’s opinion, very little goes better with Naan than Chicken Tikka Masala. MMMMM! This popular chicken curry with it’s creamy, tomato sauce is easily my favorite Indian dish. Is it authentically Indian? I don’t think so…..I’ve actually heard that it was created in London. Nonetheless, I love it.
I recalled an episode I saw of America’s Test Kitchen when they prepared Chicken Tikka Masala. It seemed so simple and relied on Garam Masala as the primary spice agent. As Garam Masala is a blend of a variety of spices, there was no need for me to purchase a ton of different seasonings! P-E-R-F-E-C-T!
While I was preparing this dish, the aromas quickly filled the entire house—- and it smelled amazing! It was fairly easy to prepare and was really flavorful. I was worried that the boneless/skinless chicken would be dried out due to the cooking method. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the meat to be quite moist—probably as a result of the generous coating of yogurt that sealed in the juices. The photos here show the Chicken Tikka Masala served with a Turmeric Rice but Basmati would be perfect with it, too.
In the end, we had a lot of sauce left over and I didn’t want to waste all of that great flavor. So the next day, I lightly grilled some prawns and threw them into the sauce. It was really delicious and became a wonderful seafood option!
All in all—I was quite happy with this Chicken Tikka Masala and will definitely make it again! My Host Family in Chennai would be proud :)
*Friday’s Post: Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potatoes Curry)
Chicken Tikka Masala
From America’s Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two
For the Chicken
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Two (6 to 8-ounce) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, trimmed
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Teaspoons Grated or Minced Fresh Ginger
For the Sauce
One (14.5-ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Small Onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Teaspoon Grated or Minced Fresh Ginger
1 Small Serrano Chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 1/2 Teaspoons Tomato Paste
1 1/2 Teaspoons Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/3 Cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro
Make the chicken
1. Combine the garam masala, cayenne, and salt in a bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then coat the chicken thoroughly with the spices, pressing to help them adhere. Place the chicken on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Whisk the yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger together in a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
Make the sauce
1. Process the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until pureed, about 15 seconds. Heat the oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Stir in the processed tomatoes, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the yogurt and cover to keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to be 6 inches from the broiler element, and heat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Using tongs, dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture so that it is thickly coated and arrange on the prepared wire rack; discard any excess yogurt mixture. Broil the chicken until the exterior is lightly charred in spots and the thickest part of the breasts registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through cooking.
4. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Stir the chicken pieces into the warm sauce (do not simmer the chicken in the sauce). Stir in the cilantro, season with salt to taste, and serve.
NOTE: I’m not sure why, but the ingredients shown on the episode of ATK are slightly different than what is actually published in their cookbook. What you see here is the cookbook method.