Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken twice in ... two weeks? What's this world coming to? I'll blame this recipe choice on chowhound though. I was looking to see what recipes people liked out of 660 Curries and chicken tikka masala came up. Who am I to argue with the wisdom of the crowd? (especially when it calls for yogurt and I have extra yogurt just dying to be used in the fridge left over from grapefruit yogurt cake ... I have an aversion to just eating yogurt)

As far as changes go, I omitted 1/4 cup golden raisins from the sauce (add with the almonds) because I have a raisin aversion and fried the chicken instead of grilling it (but grilling would've been nicer!). I scaled down the chicken, but left everything else the same because I like sauce (original is below). I forgot I had fresh cilantro when I was making the marinade, but remembered it for the garnish. Finally, I'm not sure if my garam masala is Punjabi or not, but it smelled good!

As a side note, I was already more or less full when this finished cooking (I had an heirloom tomato with feta cheese salad), but couldn't resist going for a second (baby) helping. I'd had a recipe chicken tikka masala from Saveur sitting in my "recipes to try" bookmarks for 9 months or so, but quickly erased it after trying this. This will be my go-to recipe for it.

Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from 660 Curries)

To make the ginger paste, puree together 1 1/4 cup chopped ginger with 1/2 cup water (you'll have leftovers, but I'm sure you'll find uses, or you can scale). To make the garlic paste, puree together 50 cloves garlic with 1/2 cup water.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (I forgot this part)
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Punjabi garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
680g boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" wide strips
2 tbsp ghee or canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned (I used slightly more and fresh heirloom thanks to a friend!)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp Punjabi garam masala
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, cilantro, coriander, cumin, cayenne, paprike, salt, garam masala, and turmeric in a small bowl. Whisk.
2. Place chicken in a large bowl and pour marinade over it. Toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes - 6 hours.
3. Heat oil in a small saucepan (yes small, you want the veggies to sweat, not burn) over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and almonds. Cook, stirring until vegetables soften and become honey brown, 10 - 12 minutes (it should smell delicious).
4. Stir in tomatoes. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Remove from heat.
5. Add cream, salt, cayenne, and garam masala. Puree with an immersion blender.
6. Simmer sauce over low heat.
7. Meanwhile, cook the chicken. You can grill, broil, or fry. I fried. If grilling or broiling, use skewers.
8. Serve over chicken over rice with sauce on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

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