Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

Indian food is my new addiction. I've always liked it, but there's now a restaurant much, much closer to my house. The Professor and I have been there 4 times in the past month - putting it ahead of my beloved local Margarita Makers.

And last year, my bis sis found herself in an Indian restaurant for the first time and called to ask what she should order. I don't remember much of the conversation (I was at a party and the wine was flowing), but I *do* remember what dish she had - Chicken Tikka Masala - because she couldn't stop talking about it.

Since it's also one of my favorites, we decided to try and make it while I vacationed at her place a couple of weeks ago (necessitating a trip to my favorite spice store). It was good - really good - so I tried it again this weekend, and Holy Spices, Batman am I getting close to a great recipe.

The major sticking point in my house is the heat level: We all know by now that The Professor doesn't like spicy foods; he does, however, love Indian food and is usually willing to over look a lot of heat. This time, I went a tad too far for him - although I thought it was dang near perfect. I solved this crisis of opinion by putting the yogurt next to his plate, letting him mix in more as he needed.

My next hurdle with this: I want to make it with lamb.

I started with this recipe from Tigers & Strawberries, and now I know to try more of her recipes in the future.

I made this with whole spices, but I think a good rule for using ground spices is: 1 Tbsp whole = 1 tsp ground.
This also makes about 6 servings - perfect for us, because the leftovers taste better than the original!

Chicken Tikka Masala

2 small onions
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
Seeds from 10 cardamom pods
1 tsp peppercorns
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp whole cumin
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp paprika
4 Tbsp butter, divided
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala (optional, but I love it)
1 tbsp sweet paprika
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup yogurt
3/4 cup half & half
1-1/12 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

First, make your spice blend: Put the cardamom seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin and pepper flakes in a spice grinder and ... grind. Take a deep breath and enjoy the aroma that will soon be wafting through your kitchen. You can almost smell the picture:

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet. Saute onions until they begin to caramelize.

Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add your spice blend, ginger, garam masala (if using) and paprika.

Stir everything together until it's well combined. Take a deep breath. Or five. Let it all mix together in the skillet for a few minutes.

Add tomatoes and water and stir everything together. Turn your heat down and simmer for about 10-15 minutes - it will thicken up a little and reduce.

Whisk the yogurt into the sauce, then add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and the half and half, and whisk everything together.

When the sauce is simmering again, add the chicken pieces and let it simmer until they are completely cooked.(about 10 minutes).

Serve over rice, hopefully with some kind of bread to sop up all the sauce.


Ember said...


Do you think we could get away with serving this for Thanksgiving dinner?

Deborah said...

Absolutely! Maybe we could talk Mama into trying a bite?

And I wish i had used fresh ginger, but somehow I forgot to buy it and couldn't wait to make the dish.

HoneyB said...

This is my favorite Indian Dish...with Naan of course!

Anonymous said...

I had this dish several years ago on a visit to Kepal, I loved it . Cant wait to try this recipe, thanks so much for sharing. Chef Jay