Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chicken Tikka Masala

John and I have only been to an Indian restaurant once, and I don't know if anything we ate there was Chicken Tikka Masala, so I don't know if this recipe I cobbled together from a several others is spicier than typical. I do know that it's spicier than any of the Indian and Pakistani dishes I make, and that my hot-pepper munching husband even thought it was spicy. When I asked if I should alter the recipe, though, he said that it was, and I quote, "Perfect." Since this is now his favorite, and his opinion matters most in my eyes, we'll keep it. Chicken tikka masala is a hybrid dish and has no set recipe, anyway, so if you want to tone down the heat, just cut the cayenne and black peppers in half and reduce the garlic and ginger. (Our poor girls thought it was too spicy even with only basmati and the chicken and requested peanut butter and jelly naan. Seriously.) **Edit: I've since made it identical to this recipe only using 1 tsp. of cayenne instead of 3-4 tsp. total for the recipe. The girls and I love it this way, but John thinks we're wimps and adds about a teaspoon of cayenne to each helping.

1 cup yogurt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 tbsp. ginger root, grated or crushed
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

Mix all the above ingredients together and marinate for a couple of hours before broiling or grilling. Place on broiler rack or grill; marinade should cling to the cubed chicken. Broil or grill until fully cooked and browned on top.

Masala Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves freshly minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon crushed or grated ginger root
1 medium onion, chopped

Saute the above in butter until translucent, then add:

1 and 1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 and 1/2- 2 tsp. cayenne
1 16 oz. can stewed tomatoes (Separate into small chunks with spoon or knife after adding)
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream (Okay, I'm lame. We only have heavy cream in the house for special occasions, and I substituted evaporated milk.)
a pinch of sugar
a few good shakes of cilantro, to taste (torn, fresh cilantro when in season)
1/2 tsp. salt/black pepper, to taste
a good shake of cumin
a good shake of turmeric

Heat the masala sauce over medium heat until blended and heated through. Spoon over basmati, top with the broiled/grilled chicken pieces, and serve with naan.

Wow. What a dish.


Sarah said...

Best blankety blank NAAN I ever did taste or make myself with your help. God bless those pea pickers.


Abigail said...

Hee. You were the inspiration for this dish, you know! Honestly, we came home and I immediately started a recipe search for Tikka Masala.