Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, is chicken cooked in a lightly spiced tomato cream sauce. Apparently, it's not even an authentic Indian dish... it was invented in Scotland and is unofficially considered Britain's national dish. That said, you'll find it in pretty much every Indian restaurant, and it's always a safe bet. I think it's a good "starter" curry for people who are a little afraid of Indian food, as it's not too spicy and very, very tasty. 

I had never made chicken tikka masala before (and have very little experience cooking Indian food), but since it was an America's Test Kitchen recipe, I figured I couldn't go wrong. It was a bit of a project to make this dish (there are a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps), so it's more appropriate for a weekend meal, but totally worth it. While it wasn't exactly like what you'd find in a restaurant, it was pretty close... and amazingly delicious and satisfying. Make sure you serve this along with some basmati rice.

I tried a little too hard to up my Indian-cooking cred and also attempted to make naan (an addictive flat bread) to accompany this dish. However, our broiler wouldn't heat up again after we broiled the chicken, so that never happened. If you want to try making your own naan, check out this website... there's a very helpful instructional video along with the recipe. Otherwise, Trader Joe's sells really good frozen naan!

Chicken Tikka Masala
from The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009


Chicken Tikka:
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, chile minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. For the chicken: Combine the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the spice mixture, pressing gently so the mixture adheres. Place the chicken on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. For the sauce: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and return to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While the sauce simmers, adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position (about 6 inches from the heating element) and heat the broiler. Using tongs, dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture (it should be covered with a thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on a wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiling pan. Discard the excess yogurt mixture. Broil the chicken until the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and the exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let the chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into the warm sauce (do not simmer the chicken in the sauce). Stir in the cilantro, season to taste with salt, and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. 



Anonymous said...
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Indian Foodie said...

Great amazing chicken tikka masala pics and here is my favorite recipe chicken tikka masala recipe Give it a try.