Monday, March 26, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala, Revisited

I couldn't help it.  This chicken tikka masala recipe was in dire need of reposting.  It was our favorite recipe of 2010, after all. I finally made it again for dinner the other night and it was so, so good.  Licking the bowl good.  Dreaming about the leftovers good.

However, this isn't a 30-minute meal.  I rubbed the spice mixture on the chicken and started cooking the rice in the rice cooker and then went to the gym for an hour.  When I got back, it took me an hour from start to finish to get this meal on the table.  But, if I didn't already have the leftovers in the freezer, I'd want to do it all over again next week -- it was totally worth it.

I only made a few changes this time - I used a bit less chicken (1.3 pounds instead of the recommended 2) and couldn't tell a difference.  I also only used half of the cream it called for sauce and substituted 2% Greek yogurt instead.  I thought it turned out perfectly and will be using that substitution from now on. 

I recommend serving this with either rice, quinoa or something that can help soak up all the delicious sauce. I use this recipe for brown rice with mustard seeds, carrots, celery and peas which doubled as our side dish and vegetables!

PS - I froze half of this (including the brown rice dish) and we just had the reheated leftovers for dinner last night.  My husband thought it was even better this time!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Reposted from 2010, Taken from: Cook's Illustrated, Sep & Oct 2007 issue
Serves 4-6
Chicken Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/5 - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat (I used about 1.3 pounds)
  • 1 c. full-fat or  low-fat plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
  • 2 Tb. canola oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed with garlic press
  • 1 Tb. fresh ginger, grated
Sauce Ingredients:
  • 3 Tb. canola oil or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (approx. 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed with garlic press
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 - 1 jalapeno chile, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (caution: the hottest part of the chile is the ribs and seeds so be very careful when handling because it gets on your fingers; use 1/2 jalapeno if you want a mild taste)
  • 1 Tb. tomato paste
  • 1 Tb. garam masala (or substitute 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper)
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes OR approx. 4 large tomatoes, crushed in food processor (I used 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes instead)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2/3 c. heavy cream or half-and-half (I used 1/3 cup of whipping cream and 1/3 cup of 2% Greek yogurt)
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne and 1 tsp. salt in small bowl. Sprinkle on both sides of chicken, pressing gently so spices adhere.
  2. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30-60 minutes.
  3. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, 2 Tb. oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 Tb. ginger.
  4. Then, heat 3 Tb. oil in Dutch oven (or saucepan) over medium heat. Once heated, add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden (8-10 minutes).
  5. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, ginger, chile, tomato paste and garam masala. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant (about 3 min).
  6. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (See next steps to cook chicken while sauce simmers.)
  7. Stir in half-and-half and/or yogurt and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat or turn to low to keep warm.
  1. CHICKEN: While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 5 inches from heat) and heat broiler. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray wire rack with cooking spray and then set wire rack in baking sheet
  2. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture and make sure chicken has thick layer of it. (Throw away any extra yogurt.)
  3. Broil chicken for 10 minutes and then flip. Cook until thickest part is 160 degrees (chicken will be lightly charred in places). Time will depend on thickness of the chicken but will range from 15-25 total minutes.
  4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce. Stir in cilantro (or serve cilantro on side).


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