My Indian tastebuds were tingling for some home cooking, so while rummaging through my cupboards I came across a packet of Chicken Tikka Masala my mom bought me when she last visited and then I was craving it. It’s Indian comfort food at it’s best.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Indian cuisine, Chicken Tikka masala is chunks of spicy marinated chicken pieces grilled and simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. It’s a staple on any Indian restaurant menu and is hugely popular in the U.K. In fact, it’s even been dubbed as Britain’s National dish. It’s boldly flavored and rich, which makes it perfect with plain long grained rice or Indian flat bread called Naan (recipe coming up next). While it feels complicated dish because of the use of a number of spices, it’s relatively simple, really! Apart from 1/2 a teaspoon of garam masala, which is a blend of roasted whole spices like, cumin, cloves, peppercorns, star anise, corriander seeds, nut meg and mace (available at any Indian store), I stuck to using ingredients easily available here in the U.S. So you guys should really give it a try.
Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
For the marinade-
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 Cup of Plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp fresh grated garlic
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper (or Kashmiri Chili powder)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
For the sauce-
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (8oz) can of tomato sauce.
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1 tsp sugar
A handful of chopped fresh cilantro
– In a mixing bowl, add all the marinade ingredients- Yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, black pepper and salt and stir well.
– Then add the chicken pieces and mix well so that all the pieces are well coated with the marinade and let it sit for a couple hours (or overnight).
– After the chicken has marinated pre-heat the oven to 400F then spread the pieces out one at a time on a well greased baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for 15-20 mins then switch the oven to broiler and let the chicken brown or even develop a few burned spots for another 5-6 minutes.
– While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the sauce. Start by melting 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet/ deep fry pan.
– Add to it the minced garlic and finely chopped jalapeno pepper (add only 1/2 for a less spicy sauce).
– Then add the spices- cayenne pepper, garam masala and cumin powder. Stir and fry the spices for a few seconds. Then pour in a small can of tomato sauce.
– Season with salt and let it bubble for a few minutes.
– Then turn the heat to low and pour in 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream.
– Add a tablesppon of sugar for sweetness, stir well, cover and let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes.
– Your chicken should be done by now. Simply add the chicken to the sauce with a handful of roughly chopped cilantro and mix well.
– Garnish with some more fresh cilantro and serve hot with Indian flat bread (naan) or plain long grain rice.