Chicken Tikka Masala

I talked about my affinity for Chinese food takeout in my post about Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken.  And that is still true.  I like it more than I probably should.  However, my love of Chinese takeout is eclipsed only by my love of Indian food (and maybe sushi…).  But seriously, I am unable to say no to Indian food.

Since moving out to the suburbs, we have yet to find an Indian restaurant in our area that will satisfy my cravings.  Rather than, you know, being patient or having self control, I took matters into my own hands.

Chicken Tikka Masala | A Nerd Cooks

I found this recipe through Bon Appétit, and made a few small modifications.

You’ll need:

  • 4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 4 tbs peeled ginger, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt (not Greek*)
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • salt, to taste
  • steamed rice, for serving**

Combine the turmeric, garam masala, and cumin in a small bowl.  To another, medium-sized, bowl add half of the spice mixture, garlic, ginger, yogurt, and salt.  Stir everything to combine.

Add the chicken to the bowl and turn to coat everything.  Cover and chill for 4-6 hours.  Cover the remaining half of the spice mixture and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the sliced onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften and the tomato paste has darkened (~5 minutes).  Add the remaining half of the spice mixture, stir to combine, and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands*** as you add them.  Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer.  Stir often, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, until the sauce starts to thicken (~8-10 minutes).

Add the cream and cumin.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens a bit more (~30 minutes).

While the sauce is cooking, preheat the broiler to high.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and top that foil with a wire rack (like the one you’d use for cooling your cookies).  Arrange the marinated chicken breasts on top of the rack.  Broil for 10 minutes, or until black spots start to form on the chicken.  Note that the meat will not be cooked the whole way through.

After broiling the chicken, cut it into bite-sized pieces.  After the sauce has been simmering for about 30 minutes, add chicken to the sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (~15 additional minutes).  Add salt to taste.

Serve over rice.

This chicken tikka masala is pretty fabulous.  It’s very, very close to the stuff I would get from Lumbini or Mughal Garden in Baltimore.  I will be making this again and again, and hope that you will too!

*I had a bit of a difficult time finding whole milk, non-Greek yogurt.  The grocery store where I usually shop had exclusively Greek yogurt and low-fat flavored varieties.  I ended up finding it at Wegmans, though.

**I cooked some basmati rice according to the directions on the bag. Before putting the lid on to let things simmer, I added a bit of salt, a couple of star anise, and a few more crushed cardamom pods.

***Holy crap, these things were messy.  I should have taken a picture of the mess that I made.  Every now and then, when squeezing one, it would squirt across the room: on the floor, the (white!) walls, all over my clothes… you name it, it got dirty.  Please be more careful than I was! =)

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7 thoughts on “Chicken Tikka Masala

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