Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka is warming, spicy, complex, and totally delicious.
I have always loved Indian food, and Chicken Tikka Masala was the first Indian dish I learned to cook at home. It is easy and fabulous. I originally got my recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but I've messed with it over time. This is a recipe I've made so many times I have it memorized. 
I made this for Bachelor Night--a tradition at my house. Turns out a lot of the teachers at my school have my same appalling taste in television--and also love drinking cheap wine and eating good food in the middle of the week. Our Tuesday night gatherings are a great excuse for me to cook for a crowd. 
Because I have so much free time--it being summer and all--I made an Indian feast! Chicken tikka, veggie masala, homemade garlic naan, and raita to cool the spice. Yum.

Here is the recipe. It's PW's, with my alterations: 


  • 3 whole (to 4) Chicken Breasts or thigh (any boneless, skinless chicken is fine)
  •  Kosher Salt
  •  Ground Coriander
  •  Cumin Powder
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 8 cloves Garlic
  • 1 chubby 4-inch piece of ginger
  •  Garam Masala spice powder (usually available at regular grocery stores)
  • 1 large can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno or other spicy element (like cayenne or red pepper flakes)
  •  Sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Cilantro

What to Do:

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some kosher salt. Next sprinkle them on both sides with some coriander and cumin. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven and set aside.
Next dice  the two  large onions. In a large skillet melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until they are slightly browned, about 6 mines. As the onions cook, mince your garlic. Next, cut off the outer skin and mince or grate the big hunk of fresh ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions. Also throw in about 1 tablespoon of salt. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Next you are going to add about 4 tablespoons Garam Masala spice. And if you like it hot, this is also when you will add your spicy element--jalapeno or chiles. If you don't want spice, just omit these. Let the spices cook in the butter for a few minutes, stirring constantly. 
Now add your can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 tablespoon sugar. Let this mixture simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.
After the Tikka Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 ½ cups of heavy cream. Now, chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the Tikka Masala sauce. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is a nice addition if you like cilantro. 
Serve with naan or rice!

Note: make "Indian" rice by adding a few dashes of tumeric and a cup of frozen peas, then cooking rice as normal. 
Ingredients for the yogurt-marinated roast chicken.

Chicken before roasting. 

Roasted chicken. The yogurt gives it fantastic flavor. 

Finished Tikka! 

The whole meal: homemade garlic naan, cucumber-mint raita, chicken tikka masala, and fiery vegetable masala. Doesn't this make you want to drink boxed wine and watch bad TV? 

My plate. And a jealous chihuahua photo bomb!

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