Chicken Tikka Masala

My daughter loves Chicken Tikka Masala.  I think it might be her favorite dish.  So when I was browsing the internet for recipes and passed this one in a recipe index, my daughter insisted that I make it.  The recipe looked better than Good Enough, meaning more complex than the Good Enough Gourmet would usually endeavor on a weeknight, but for the sake of my daughter, I tried it.  I do believe it was worth it.

Chicken Tikka Masala, adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen

Please note that this dish requires morning (or night before) marination, something the Good Enough Gourmet generally tries to avoid for fear of forgetting to do it until it’s too late.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken and marinade:
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 c. plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1 1/2 t. coriander
  • 1/4 t. cayenne
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Sauce:
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 1/2 t. garam masala
  • 1/4 t. cayenne
  • 1 Serrano chili pepper (I used half of a jalapeno instead)
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (I used 2 14 oz. cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes with chilis)
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • Side dish:
  • basmati rice
  • frozen naan from Trader Joe’s

Instructions:

1) The day before or in the morning, marinate the chicken.  Combine all the marinade ingredients and coat the chicken thighs.  Let the chicken marinate for 1 to 24 hours.

2) Make the basmati rice.

3) Chop onion and garlic, and grate ginger.  Very carefully, chop the pepper.  (Tip: I cut the  pepper lengthwise from the stem to the point, avoiding the seeds.  Rather than cutting down the middle — i.e. right through the seeds, I cut strips around the core, one side at a time, leaving the seeds attached to the stem at the end.  Sorry — hard to describe without visuals.)

4) In a saucepan or skillet with a lid, heat the vegetable oil, and add chopped onion, garlic, and ginger, sauteeing until the onion is translucent.  (The original recipe says 8-10 minutes, but the ginger will definitely burn if you cook it that long, so cook it less, or else add the ginger later.)  Add the garam masala, cayenne, and chopped pepper and cook for another minute or so.

5) Add the tomatoes, sugar, and salt, and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.  After the 20 minutes, add the cream.

6) While sauce is cooking, preheat the broiler.

7) Remove chicken from marinade and put on a foil-lined broiler-safe pan.  Broil the chicken 5-6 minutes on each side.

8) Slice the broiled chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to sauce, along with the accumulated juices from the cooked chicken.  Stir and cook for about 10 minutes.

Serve chicken and sauce atop basmati rice, with some naan on the side.

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