Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

I have been craving Indian food. I honestly feel like I crave Indian and (American) Chinese food EVERYDAY.

So, I ventured onto in search of a Chicken Tikka Masala recipe.  The key is to search for the Staff Favorites, and if you can find one, that is also Fast.  This recipe was a Staff Fav, but a make ahead. The hands on time is only 45 minutes, however, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I have yet to go wrong with a staff fav!

This dish was AMAZING!!!!! I actually think it was better than the Indian take-out we had a couple of weeks ago! (JW doesn't remember the take-out to compare, certainly enjoyed eating this... 3 times!)

I wanted to eat this on Wednesday night, so Tuesday, after the WAC Toast to George, I marinaded the chicken. This marinade was great, and I will actually consider eating the chicken sometime only using the marinade and the broiling steps:


Masala Marinade

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

    DAY TWO:
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I probably added a bit more... it was nice and warm!)
  • One 35-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved (I missed the finely chopped comment... I would just use diced tomatoes next time maybe.)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I had half and half...)


  1. MAKE THE MASALA MARINADE: In a large glass or stainless steel bowl (I used a Pyrex 9x9), combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. PREPARE THE CHICKEN Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.

    DAY TWO:
  3. Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. (This was my first time using a broiler! I never trusted all my old ovens at such a high heat, not to mention an open flame!) Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape off as much of the marinade as possible. Spread the pieces on a baking sheet and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Broil the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes (I did 6 minutes on the first side, and 10 on the second side. 8 and 8 would be great). Transfer to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet (I used the LeCrueset so I can re-use it for the sauce later), heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds (I only had sliced almonds, and thought about leaving them out... but this was simple enough) and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.
  5. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. 
  7. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. 
  8. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and serve.
During the simmering, we watched Antiques Roadshow from Monday. I also prepared some Jasmine rice (so good, maybe because I didn't buy store brand rice for once), and steamed broccoli.

So delicious! Like I said before, the chicken was so moist and flavorful out of the broiler, that I will definitely use this marinade again even without making the whole dish.  My broiler may become a new favorite!

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