Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

Alyssa LOVES Nepalese food. For her birthday dinner, she requested Potato Samosas, Naan bread, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Basmati Rice Pilaf. I tried this new-to-me recipe for the chicken tikka masala. I loved how much easier it is to make than the last version I tried (plus--I didn't set my oven on fire!), and we all LOVED the flavor!

Chicken Tikka Masala

*Plan Ahead: This recipe requires the chicken to be marinated overnight.
*Variation: The marinade and sauce are also delicious with shrimp, lamb and vegetables.
*Make Ahead: The masala can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

*Serves 6

Masala Marinade:
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 pounds chicken breasts (about 3-4 chicken breasts)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup blanched whole almonds (optional--I didn't add them because the sauce looked so perfect without them)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
16-ounce can tomato sauce
Pinch of sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Garnish: lots of fresh cilantro

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate covered overnight. (Note: I cut up my chicken into bite-size pieces before I marinated it instead of waiting until after it had marinated.)

In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.

In a large enameled cast-iron dutch oven or a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chili powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the tomato sauce and the sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes. While the mixture begins to simmer, remove the chicken from the marinade and cut into bite-sized pieces (if you didn't cut it into bite-size pieces before you marinated it). Throw the chicken into the pot of simmering tomato sauce. Continue simmering/cooking the chicken, partially covered, for an additional 10-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened just slightly. Add the cream and ground almonds (if desired) and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Serve with lots of fresh cilantro over hot, steamed rice.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

1 comment:

  1. I quite agree with Alyssa! This type of food is amazing! Along with Greek food...