When I dine at an Indian restaurant, I usually go with my staple which is aloo gobi, a dish made with potatoes, cauliflower and Indian spices. However, on occasion I have tried chicken tikka masala, a curry dish of roasted chicken chunks in a spicy (masala) sauce. I found an extremely enticing recipe for it on the Pioneer Woman’s blog.
The best thing about making Indian food in your own kitchen is that you as the cook can determine just how much spice you want (I’ve found in some Indian restaurants saying the phrase “no spice” still ends up with your dish being a 4 on a spice level from 1-10 with 10 being the spiciest).
Served with pre-made naan warmed in the oven, it was a really good meal. (I added some turmeric to the sauce to give it more color which you can see below.)
Pastor Ryan’s Chicken Tikka Masala
(recipe courtesy of the Pioneer Woman blog)
3 whole (to 4) chicken breasts
cumin, to taste
1/2 cups, plain yogurt
6 tablespoons butter
1 whole large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 piece (approximately 2 inches) chunk fresh ginger
garam masala (this is a blend of ground spices and any speciality cook, Indian grocery, or spice store will have this)
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups basmati rice
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 cooking 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 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Toss in the onions and saute 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 tablespoon of salt.
Next you are going to add about 3 tablespoons garam masala spice. And if you like it hot, this is also where you will add your 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. Add about 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let this mixture simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.
To a rice cooker add 2 cups basmati rice, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon 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 tikka 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 tikka masala sauce. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is a nice addition. 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 top.