08 July 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chicken Tikka Masala is the first Indian food I've attempted. Actually, some say it's not really Indian food, but rather the national dish of Britain! A complete novice, I make no claims about authenticity (or anything else, for that matter!) as my recipe is actually just a mishmash of bits and bobs from dozens of different sources, including Cook's Illustrated.   

I left out the ever popular garlic because I didn't have any on hand (I'm actually allergic to it and don't use it unless I absolutely have to). And lots of Indian and Indian-style recipes call for cardamom, but I've never been a fan of cardamom so gave that a miss as well. There is enough cardamom for my taste in the garam masala (a pungent blend of ground spices).

If you like heat, you might want to increase the amount of serrano chile. You never know how feisty a chile is going to be, so taste it before you throw the whole thing in. I like just enough that, a few bites into the finished dish, I have to excuse myself from the table to blow my nose. (Sorry if that's more than you ever really wanted to know about me!)

I hope all of you reading this will leave a comment. Tell me about your favorite Indian foods and your experiences cooking them. Tell me where I went wrong! For all I know, this is to Indian food what T*** B*ll is to Mexican food! I won't be offended--because I like what I like, and I really liked this! It had me jumping around saying "Yeah, baby! I could eat this every day!"

Note: This is a good make-ahead dish. I don't want to be messing around with the broiler (smoke, smoke alarms, hotter than Hades) right before dinner, so I did the chicken the day before. And I used a disposable foil broiler pan. I'm normally not a fan of disposable anything, but cleaning up a broiler pan is next to impossible!

Chicken Tikka Masala

inspired by/adapted from many sources, including Cook's Illustrated

(Serves 2 or 3, can easily be doubled)

The Chicken


1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% lowfat)
1 tablespoon organic canola or extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced shallot or 1/2 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs

The Sauce


1 tablespoon organic canola or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 garlic clove, minced (I skipped it and didn't miss it!)
1 teaspoon finely minced serrano or jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen organic fire roasted)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (taste finished dish and maybe add another 1/8 teaspoon)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

1 In medium glass bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, ginger, shallot or garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne and turmeric. Add chicken to bowl, turning to coat well. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. (I used organic chicken, yogurt, cream and tomatoes for this dish.)

2 In 2-quart saucepan, heat oil. Add onion and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, chile and garam masala. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, loosely covered, for 15 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler (in my oven, the second slot), and preheat the broiler. Transfer the chicken to a (disposable!) broiler pan. Broil the chicken thighs for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side (or take them outside and throw them on the grill). Remove to a plate and set aside for 5 minutes. Note: You can cook the chicken ahead and refrigerate it until it's time to add it to the sauce. Just warm it up in the microwave for a minute before adding it to the sauce.

4 Stir the cream into the sauce and bring the sauce back to a simmer. Cut the chicken thighs into roughly 1-inch pieces and add them to the sauce. Heat gently for about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in half the cilantro or parsley just before serving, and sprinkle the rest over the top. Serve with plain basmati rice, a vegetable dish and naan.

22 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

Jean, I am so glad you posted this! I bought garam masala at Penzey's a couple months ago with great intentions...and hadn't yet decided what to do with it. Now I know! This sounds delicious, (but I will add the garlic.)

We don't have great opportunity for Indian food around here unless I were to make it myself, but the best Indian food I ever ate (and maybe the only) was in Cirencester, England. I don't remember the name of it, but the food was fantastic, so I have a pretty high standard to meet, should I ever get to another Indian restaurant!

...and I love your food photos!

Jean said...

Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the CTM as much as we did. I had bought the McCormick Gourmet Collection garam masala a couple months ago with great intentions ... had actually wanted to try CTM for years but never did ... I figured the garam masala would end up going to waste before used all of it, but now I don't think so. My husband said he could eat this at least once a week!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

My favorite Indian food is Comanche Burger with buffalo tongue, but I guess that misses/messes with your ethnic intent here, so I'll just say that this recipe makes sense and looks sensuous. For some reason I can't read your list of ingredients without wanting to throw in molasses or mandarin oranges, but that's just me. Some day – if I get close enough to the stove – I'm gonna try this!

Jean said...

Hey, you're not wrong about the mandarin oranges, Sully! Though I would not add them to the recipe, I would serve them alongside as a refreshing accent, maybe even chop the segments a bit and stir them into the basmati rice.

Richard Sheppard said...

This looks sooooo tasty Jean! Is garam masala hard to find? I've never heard of it before. I'm guessing it's probably common in indian food.

Jean said...

Thanks, Richard! No, garam masala is not hard to find. You can get a good one right at your supermarket - the McCormick Gourmet Collection. Every brand is a little different, but I was really pleased with this brand.

Jenn said...

Tikka Masala IS my favorite Indian food! YUM! I have made it twice before.. the first time it was not that great... too much garam masala, but the second time it was so much better! Definitely will be trying this one! Thanks!

Jean said...

Thanks, Jenn! I hope you like it as much as we do. Garam masala in the right amount is a good thing, but too much of it is just awful!

Megan said...

Tikka masala is basically the only Indian food I like (besides naan, of course), so I may have to try making this at home at some point. I love the idea of controlling the heat too... because I would definitely make a very mild version for my wimpy self!

Jean said...

Megan, thanks! I think you'll be really surprised at how easy it is to make. Hope you'll try it soon and let me know how you liked it.

All That I'm Eating said...

This looks so appetising. I'd love to have a go at making it myself. It's nice how you can control the heat. I like your blog - am following.

Jean said...

Thank you so much! I hope you'll try it soon and let me know how it worked for you. I also have lots of recipes for things that go well with tea.

Grant said...

Hey Jean, the image of you 'jumping around saying "Yeah, baby! I could eat this every day!"' has made my day :-) and I have to admit we are enamored of Indian food, and especially CTM. Will have to give your version of it a go and see how it compares to our fave Indian restaurant in Melbourne.

Love reading your blog. It's always a delight!

smiles, Grant

Jean said...

Well, I'm glad I made someone's day! Thank you so much, Grant! Hope you like it.

Vic said...

This does NOT look like a five minute recipe! But, oh, how I love this dish.

Jean said...

Thanks, Vic! Nope, it took a bit longer than 5 minutes. But it's really quite easy and doesn't have a lengthy "active" time.

mike said...

Yum! Definitely something I would attempt at home. I love my Indian food, but it's a fine line between tasty and overpowering, especially when attempting to make it yourself. Thankfully, I know how to follow instructions :)

Jean said...

Thanks! You're so right about that fine line, Mike. I'm a huge fan of tasty but not overpowering.

Bop said...

Loving all the flavours and spices going on in this chicken marinade definitely looks delicious and something I would LOVE to eat.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Alex, thank you!

Donna said...

This has given me a craving for this, off to my pantry to find my spices, yum, thank you so much for this recipe, Jean, off to try, but first, I'll share on social media on others can find this post and your yummy blog! :) Hope this week treats you kindly. :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Donna, thank you so much! You just made my day. I lovelovelove this dish and I don't think the post has had as much attention as it would have if posted more recently. Thank you, too, for the social media shares; much appreciated!

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