Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

While I was in college I was privileged to work with a group of very ethnically diverse IBM contractors. During those years I got to try and grew to love foods from all over the world, including Indian. Although the spices in this dish are very strong, the cream sauce adds a nice balance. This recipe comes from Pioneer Woman/Pastor Ryan. YUM!

The full recipe could easily serve 6 adults

3-4 Chicken Breasts
Ground Coriander
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 Tbsp. Butter
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 large onion (1/2 large)
4 cloves garlic (2-3)
2 in. chunk fresh ginger
(1 tsp. minced from jar)
3 Tbsp. Garam Masala (I used McCormick)
Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Cups Basmati Rice

Fresh Cilantro
Serrano Pepper
1 Tbsp. Turmeric (1 1/2 tsp)
Frozen Peas (1/2 cup or so)

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some Kosher salt. Next sprinkle them on both sides with some coriander and cumin. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven.

Next dice one large onion. In a large skillet melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sautee until they are slightly browned. As the onions cook, mince your garlic.

Next cut off the outer skin and mince or grate a 1 by 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions. Also throw in about 1 Tbsp. of salt (this was quite salty, even using kosher salt 1 1/2 tsp would be enough).
Next you are going to add about 3 Tbsp. Garam Masala spice. And if you like it hot this is also where you will add your hot chili peppers. Serranos work well. Now you are going to add your can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.

To a rice cooker, add 2 cups Basmati rice, 4 Tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. (1 1/2 - 2 tsp) Ground Turmeric and 4 cups water. Cover, turn on your rice cooker and walk away. If you do not have a rice cooker, cook your rice as usual but make sure that you use Basmati rice.

After the Tikki Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. Now, chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the Tikki Masala sauce. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is a nice addition if you like cilantro. You can also throw some frozen peas into the cooked rice, give them a stir, and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas. It tastes great and gives another nice dash of color.

Serve the rice with the Chicken Tikka Masala over the top. Make sure to have some Naan bread handy too.

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