Read this before attempting this recipe: Be prepared to have your kitchen, clothes and hair smell like a spice market!
This chicken tikka masala sure doesn't taste like the bright orange stuff you'd slosh on your plate at the $8.95 Indian lunch buffet. It is actually quite delicate and nuanced in flavors, yet still robust and spicy. The creaminess of the sauce comes primarily from the plain nonfat yogurt, and not from the heavy cream, and thus contrary to popular belief, yields a not so unhealthy dish.
Chicken Tikka Masala was actually popularized in England by the Brits' affinity for creamy, heavier type foods and curries. It thus falls more into the category of fusion food, much like what General Tso's chicken is to authentic Chinese cuisine. General who? Anyway.
This recipe is an involved process, as the chicken must be marinated about a day in advance. Mr.S prepped all the steps in the following recipes. As a result his kitchen transformed into Mr.S's House of Curry, and me, his obedient sous-chef. When it comes to Indian food, he is quickly becoming the master of the subcontinent, wielding the powers of spices and chutneys. Which makes me a happy girl, since I love good Indian food, and get to be on the receiving end of all his labors.
He cooked up a large batch last night for dinner, and we had leftovers tonight. With a spoon and rounds of warm naan to scoop up the fragrant curry, we swore never to order chicken tikka masala from a restaurant again.
Murgh Tikka Masala (Grilled Chicken in Spicy Sauce)
adapted from 1000 Indian Recipes
makes 4-6 servings
1 recipe Grilled/Broiled Garlic Chicken Tikka
1/2 cup Fried Onion Paste
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1. Roughly chop the grilled chicken into smaller 1" pieces. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, roughly puree tomatoes with cilantro.
3. In a deep pan, melt 1 Tbsp ghee over high heat. Add the fried onion paste and tomato puree. Cook over medium heat for 7 minutes to evaporate the juices. Add the remaining dried spices and salt, and cook for 1 minute. Add the water and grilled chicken pieces, and simmer for 5 minutes. Finally, add the cream, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
Grilled/Broiled Garlic Chicken Tikka:
1 lb. boneless chicken pieces
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp olive oil
1.5 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground green cardamom
1. Mix together garlic, olive oil, and the spices. Coat the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
2. Broil or grill chicken 5-6 minutes on each side, until deep golden. Let cool.
Fried Onion Paste:
1 cup ghee or vegetable oil
6-8 quarter size slices peeled fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the ginger and garlic until golden brown. Add the onion, and fry until well-browned, about 5 minutes more. Remove to paper towels and drain well. Reserve the oil for another purpose.
2. In a food processor, blend the fried onions with the yogurt to the consistency of a smooth paste.