Friday, September 24, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

I have often stated my love for Indian food and how I dearly miss our favorite Indian restaurant in Herndon, Virginia. I am always on the lookout for recipes to recreate the dishes that we loved there. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of those meals that I have been wishing to replicate. Chicken Tikka Masala is usually a spicy dish but the first recipe I tried was unbearable! Russell likes spicy foods so I knew it was too hot when he could not finish his plate! My search for a new recipe led me the one below. I adjusted the recipe to ensure that it would not be too spicy. My second attempt turned out just right as the flavor was wonderful and the spice was perfect! I served it with homemade naan complimented with my twist on a traditional tzatziki sauce (recipe soon to come). This is definitely the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe I will be using from now on when we are craving some wonderful Indian food.

This recipe calls for a spice called Garam Masala which is typically made from whole spices; roasted, and then ground. For a quick and easy substitute you can make your own: Garam Masala. You can also find Garam Masala at the World Market, Whole Foods, or The Fresh Market.


Chicken Masala Marinade Ingredients:
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger or 3/4 teaspoon ground 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Other Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts (about 3-4 chicken breasts)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (more if you would like it spicier)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you would like it spicier)
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Cilantro
  • Cooked basmati rice

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine all of the chicken masala marinade ingredients except the chicken. Using a sharp knife make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turning to coat. Refrigerate covered overnight.

In a large dutch oven or large pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until onions are tender and golden, approximately 6-8 minutes.

Add the garam masala, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes with their juices, the tomato sauce, and the pinch of 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. Place 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 slightly.

Add the cream and some of the cilantro and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve over basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.

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