Chicken Tikka Masala
There was a time in my life when I did not know about the wondrous creation that is chicken tikka masala. Obviously, it coincides with the time in my life prior to meeting my fiancee. I say this all the time, but she’s the reason my cooking really took off. She opened my eyes to all sorts of food primarily through having take out at her parents house. Take out at her house was always so fun for me, it felt like a special treat to me.
Early on in our relationship, they ordered Indian food takeout from a local restaurant. I never really liked Indian food prior to that, but that was primarily because I had only had it as a small kid and anything that is too spicy as a kid is usually not on your top 10 list. That night was the first time I can remember ever having chicken tikka masala. It was everything I wanted out of Indian food, just a hint of spice (not so spicy that I couldn’t eat it), creamy, and a delicious tomato flavor that accented the chicken and rice perfectly.
Since then I always order this dish when we’re out a Indian restaurant. Now you can roll your eyes at me for ordering the most standard or main stream Indian takeout dish there is, but I always regret not ordering it.
If you’re not familiar with the dish, it’s basically chicken tikka (which is chicken marinated in host of spices and yogurt then cooked in a tandoor) in a masala sauce (which is a garam masala based thick & creamy tomato sauce). The origins of the dish itself are murky and seem to be an amalgamation of Indian and British cuisine.
Legend has it that a bus driver in Glasgow, Scotland sent back a dish of chicken curry back in the 70’s because it was too dry, the restaurant owner was drinking some tomato soup and thought it would be a good idea to add tomato soup to the curry. Bingo Bango – Chicken Tikka Masala was born.
Now I’m not sure how conclusive or accurate the story truly is, but due to the high concentration of Indian expatriates in Great Britain, this dish has become one of the most favorite dishes to order or prepare in the United Kingdom.
Chicken Tikka Masala is perfection on a plate, served with warm saffron basmati rice I could eat it everyday. My pants size would soon balloon but at least I would have fun along the way. I’m saying I’d get fat. Because I’d eat a lot of this.
1 Cup of Diced Onions
2 Tbsp. Crushed Garlic
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Cups of Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 Can of Peeled Tomatoes
2 Cups of Heavy Cream
3 Tsp. Garam Masala
3 Tsp. Salt
For the Chicken
2 Cups of Plain Yogurt
2 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Garam Masala
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 Boneless Chicken Thighs
4 Chicken Breasts
First marinate the chicken for about an hour in the yogurt, cumin, garam masala, and salt.
As the chicken is marinating, have your butter foam in a large pot then add your onions and garlic. Brown the onions and garlic, then add your salt and garam masala. Stir these all together so everything is evenly mixed. Now proceed by adding your tomato paste and puree. Stir this into the mixture and then add your chicken broth (or veggie broth).
Continue on mixing, it should taste and look like a Indian flavored tomato soup. Cook this for about half an hour, then transfer all of these ingredients to a blender to create a smooth creamy consistency.
Transfer this all back to the pot and continue to cook the soup. Now add your heavy cream and continue to stir the mixture, it should have a creamy consistency. If it doesn’t taste just right to you, try adding a tad more salt or garam masala.
Now, that your sauce is ready go back to your chicken. Remove the chicken from the yogurt marinade allowing any extra yogurt to dredge off the chicken. Now place your chicken on wire racks over a baking sheet. This will allow any extra yogurt to drip off rather than stay on your chicken when you cook it.
Transfer the chicken to the oven and broil on high allowing each side to brown slightly. You don’t want to burn the chicken but you also don’t want to overcook the chicken. If you have a convection setting use that instead and set it at about 450F. Cook the chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes, or however long it takes for its internal temperature to reach 165F.
Remove the chicken from the oven, slice it into large chunks and add it back to the masala sauce.
Cook for about 5 minutes and then serve over a bed of basmati rice.