2.07.2012

Chicken Tikka Masala- A Signature Dish!

Added Peas and Carrots 

The most recognized dish from Indian cuisine! Basics taken from yet another Allrecipes.com post but I have really made it my own based on my travels in India. It was my first foray into cooking dinner for others, and little did I know that you actually have to plan the food around the number of people you invited, I almost didn't have enough. By the end of the night though, everyone was licking their plates clean and I only managed to save a small dribble for my parents who were dying to try it. I have tried many different variations over the years but this one is still the best out of them all.

Ingredients
The chicken in the marinade

Marinade

  • 1 cup regular non-flavored yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 
    • (1/8 tsp ground ginger if you don't have fresh.)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced 
    • (1 tsp garlic powder if you don't have fresh.)
  • 4 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Short skewers soaked in water for at least 10 min. This is so you don't catch anything on fire.

Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin   
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
    • (I like my food really, REALLY spicy if you do not opt out of the chili and cayenne.)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (Contadina’s or Hunts is good to use)
  • 1 cup fat-free half and half 
    • (Original one called for heavy cream but I can tell you that the cream is for consistency and  there is no flavor difference!)

Directions


  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 3 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but to get the best flavor you need at least 3-6 hours of good marinating stirring at least once in the process.
  2.  Preheat a grill, grill pan, foreman grill, etc... for high heat. If you do not have any of these just use a pan.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.  
  4. Melt butter in another large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika, chili and cayenne. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro. Add salt and pepper if necessary.

Cooks Notes: One of the key things about this dish is the flavor; keep tasting the sauce and adding extra if necessary. Use salt sparingly as it can get too salty. Equally, important to remember is that with Cayenne, it gets spicier over time so be careful with this spice.


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