The first time I ever went to eat Indian food was the summer before my senior year of high school. I was experiencing my first taste of independence, and I spent the summer on the campus of University of Pennsylvania. Away from my family. I met amazing people, several of whom I am still friends with. I guess that’s why Indian food is special to me. When the Mellow Man and I started dating, one of our earlier dates was to a local Indian Restaurant, where he ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala. (I know, I know, Chicken Tikka Masala isn’t actually an “Indian” dish, rather it is British with an Indian influence. However, it is served at many of our local Indian restaurants.) That Christmas I bought him a jar of Tikka Masala sauce to see if we could make our own at home. And guess what, the homemade version of Chicken Tikka Masala was just as good as the kind we had in our local Indian Restaurant. Now Mellow Man makes this dish for our family on a regular basis along with his other favorites– Chicken Fajitas, and Apricot Goat Cheese Chicken.
I think the jar of Tikka Masala sauce says that you just need to add chicken, but that’s not exactly how we do it. There are several preparation steps to get the chicken the way the Mellow Man likes it.
- 1.5 to 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (if you like dark meat. feel free to add the boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
- 1 Tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/2 Tsp Cumin Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 Tsp Vegetable/Canola Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Freshly Minced)
- 3 Tbsp Vegetable/Canola Oil
- 1/2 Jar of Tikka Masala Sauce
- 1 Medium White Onion, medium-finely chopped
- 1 Large Can of Crushed Tomatoes (28 ounce can)
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Freshly Minced)
- 2/3 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
Cut the chicken into bite-size (1 inch or so) chunks, and set aside. Combine all of your Chicken Tikka spices together in a small bowl. In a second larger bowl, mix your plain yogurt, oil and garlic together. Then blend the spices into the yogurt. (Now the true recipe suggests that you should use rub the spice mixture into the chicken and allow it to chill for several hours, and then coat it with the yogurt. We stopped doing that because we couldn’t notice a taste difference, and it takes a lot longer.)
You are going to coat your chicken pieces thoroughly, liberally, and completely with the yogurt-spice mixture. Place the chicken on a broiler pan or jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with a thick lip will also work).
Broil the chicken for approximately 15 minutes, until completely cooked. The chicken will be brown and charred in some places.
While the chicken is broiling, prepare your sauce. Heat your 3 tbsp of canola oil in a large skillet or dutch oven, and add in the chopped onion. Stir frequently and allow the onion to turn a nice golden brown. Then add your two cloves of minced garlic, stirring frequently, and allow the garlic’s flavor to blend with the onion and oil. Next add your can of crushed tomatoes, your jar of Tikka Masala sauce, the sugar and salt. Bring the sauce to a boil.
Once it has reached a boil, turn the heat down, and allow the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes before pouring in the cream. By this point, your chicken should be removed from the broiler, and have had decent time to rest, allowing it retain it flavor and juice. Remove your sauce from the stove, and stir in the chicken.
You are ready to eat it! We serve the Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan bread and Basmati Rice.
It’s like having the Indian restaurant come to us! (Given the chaos in our house with the Littles, we definitely need that!)
What’s your favorite Indian dish (or in this case, almost Indian dish)?