Sunday, July 7, 2013

chicken tikka masala

Possibly my favorite food in the whole wide world is Lamb Tikka Masala, especially from the little hole-in-the-wall place here in town. Swoon. Seriously, so good. Unfortunately, lamb is crazy-expensive, so I'm probably never going to make that at home. 

Luckily, Chicken Tikka Masala is a very close second. And Pinterest (or Mattawa Mum,  rather) came to the rescue with an amazingly delicious recipe. 

This is the recipe I ended up using, mostly Mattawa Mum's, with a few great tips and tweaks from my bro-in-law Jon... and a dash of my own two cents. It's spectacular and was a major hit with the whole family. We will definitely be making this again!!

Notes:  Don't skip on the heavy cream.  Less fattening stuff won't work as well.  Also, the fresh cilantro is critical.  Don't skip that either.  And finally, if you don't have cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes also work in the marinade.  Random, but FYI.

RECIPE: Chicken Tikka Masala

Yield: 6
Calories: 476

[For Chicken + Marinade]
1 or 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 (6oz) tub plain greek yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger

[For Sauce]
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño (seeds removed), minced
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
2 small cans (8 oz) tomato sauce {or one regular}
1-2 cups heavy whipping cream
Cilantro, fresh, for topping

Chop up your chicken thighs and make up the marinade.  Mix together well in a dish (8x8 worked great), cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hrs.  When you're ready to make up the sauce, skewer the chicken pieces and grill them until cooked-through (no longer pink).

For the sauce, melt the butter in a (large) heavy skillet over medium-heat.  Add garlic and jalapeño and let cook for 1 minute.  Add all of the spices + salt and mix until incorporated. Add the tomato sauce.  Stir well, and let simmer until thickened (10-15 minutes maybe). Add the cream {1 c for spicy, 2 c for mild with just a teensy kick} and mix well to incorporate. Let simmer for a while longer, developing both the color and the flavor of the sauce.  Add the chicken (removed from skewers, of course).  Simmer.  Top with fresh cilantro and serve!

Serve warm over basmati rice, with a side of naan!  Mmmm.... So good.

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