Remaking the classic Chicken Tikka Masala

Remaking the classic Chicken Tikka Masala

When I put up my first Everyday Gourmet blog post back in July, Lisa Lewis asked for a reliable Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. I posted one then as a reply, but have made some adjustments to my recipe since then and think it’s even better! I figured it would be a good idea to post it here as a new blog entry for easy access. Try it out, and do let me know what you think…did it create that great, classic flavor you expected? Was it easy enough to make? What did you serve it with? I’d love to hear your reactions!

Marinade Ingredients:

1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thights, cut into 2″ pieces
1 cup yogurt
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp hot indian chile powder or cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Dish ingredients:

3 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 Tbsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2-3 serrano chile peppers, minced
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp garam masala
1/2 Tbsp turmeric
1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup plain yogurt (if needed)
fenugreek (methi) leaves, if available

Directions:

Begin by marinating the chicken. Mix the yogurt and all other ingredients for the marinade (except the chicken) in a large bowl. Add the chicken, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to four hours.

Cook the chicken. Preheat the broiler, and place chicken pieces on a baking sheet, removing as much of the marinade as possible. Cook 3-4 minutes a side until lightly browned. Place chicken pieces in a bowl and set aside. Alternatively, you can skewer the pieces and grill them on the BBQ until just cooked through, likely about 2-3 minutes a side.

To make the dish, heat a large dutch oven or pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the ghee. When hot, add the onions, stir, and let caramelize until medium brown, stirring frequently. This should take about 20-25 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and serrano chile peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, and cardamom. Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add white wine to degalze the pan…stir to get browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato puree and coconut milk, stir to mix, lower heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors meld. Add cooked chicken and half and half, stir well and cover. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro and methi leaves (if using), taste for seasoning…if desired, add yogurt and salt if needed. Serve over basmati or jasmine rice, and sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro for garnish.

NOTE: I like to season my rice with additional spices and flavors. Cook 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice as instructed on the package. Once you have cooked the rice, remove to a bowl and wipe out the pot in which you cooked the rice. Add 2 Tbsp ghee to the pan over medium high heat. When hot, add 1/2 Tbsp each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds, along with a 2″ piece of cinnamon stick broken in half. Cook until spices are fragrant and starting to brown. Add 3/4 cup of pre-cooked whole pearl onions (you can buy these in the freezer section of your grocery store, but thaw before adding to the pan). Return the cooked rice to the pan, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, and mix to blend ingredients.

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