Cook, Pop, Cook: Chicken Tikka Masala?
One of my all time favorite foods is chicken tikka masala. The creamy sauce poured over tandoori chicken is a little piece of fatty heaven for me. The fact that it is most often consumed via All You Can Eat (AYCE) Indian lunch buffets is definitely a bonus. My wife recently spotted this recipe on one of her favorite blogs and we decided we HAD to make it.
So yeah, Pastor Ryan’s version turned out just a tad better than ours. ^_^
Trust me. It tastes a lot better than it looks. It may have been the garam masala we used, but it didn’t taste like the chicken tikka masala we were used to. It tasted like a Thai/Indian curry. A bit odd, but really tasty. Also, a bit of caution: your oven is going to smell really Indian-y for several days if you don’t air it out afterwards. How to make it after the jump.
The recipe calls for chicken breasts. I think Americans are entirely too focused on (chicken) breasts – the thigh meat is where it’s at! Yes, it is fattier than the breast but 1) chicken breasts are just like those you see on TV: artificially enhanced, 2) while breast meat often turns out dry, you have to try REALLY REALLY hard to make dry chicken thighs, 3) the fat makes it taste better and it’s so much juicier, and 4) it’s significantly cheaper than breast meat.
Super Grand Mart sells thighs in packs of 8, so that’s what I used. I was a bit concerned, but the meat-to-sauce ratio at the end was good for me. As usual, start off w/ some kosher salt.
Sprinkle on some cumin and ground coriander.
Then slather the chicken w/ whole milk yogurt. They had a brand called Desi at Super Grand Mart, I thought it sounded Indian, so that’s what I bought. At this point, the chicken doesn’t look very good.
Line a baking sheet w/ foil then place the thighs on a cooling rack, which limits the amount of surface contact. Notice, I’m using these cooling racks, which my wife later points out are not supposed to be used for cooking. ^_^ Throw the chicken in the oven set for broiling at high.
Here’s my wife chopping up an onion.
Here’s my wife mincing garlic. The recipe calls for 4 cloves; we used a whole bulb. Mmmmmm, garlic!
Pastor Ryan says to broil for about 5-7 minutes each side. Since I wasn’t supposed to be cooking w/ my cooling racks, I chickened out (whomp whomp) and turned it just when the chicken began to char.
Now for the sauce! Melt 2 tbs of butter over medium-high heat and cook the onions.
Here’s the wife grating a 1″ piece of ginger using our new Microplane grater. We’re not big fans of ginger, so we used a little less than the recipe called for.
Chicken is done!
Garlic, ginger, and 1tbs of salt go in.
Now it’s time for the garam masala. Super Grand Mart has an Indian food aisle, but I haven’t seen it at a Safeway nor our local Shoppers Food Warehouse. Add 3tbs of the stuff to the skillet.
Now throw in a 28oz can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking, making sure to get all the bits off the bottom of the skillet. Now toss in 1tbs of sugar.
Smells pretty good!
Cilantro? In Indian food? Really? He’s a pastor, so he can’t be lying when he says it’s good, right? 😉 We went to an Indian lunch buffet recently for recon and we noticed there were some well cooked herbs in there. Couldn’t tell if it was cilantro or not. The recipe calls to add the cilantro in later, but we figured that following the restaurants lead would be better, so we tossed it in earlier.
We added a little less than a cup. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes.
Now it’s time for the heavy cream. The recipe calls for 1-1/2C of it, but we had 2C, and since I tend to waste unused heavy cream, I threw it in there.
Ummmm…yeah, totally doesn’t look like what I’m used to nor what Pastor Ryan made. This seems to happen quite often when I cook from recipes found on blogs.
Chop up the chicken.
And toss it in. Ummmm, yeah…we should’ve used a bigger skillet. Tossing this thing was not fun.
We also just made some rice, so making basmati rice wasn’t an option. Presentation would’ve probably been better, but ah well.
Verdict: really tasty, but definitely not what I’m used to. Also, this recipe yields quite a few servings, so make sure you have people over when you’re going to be making it, otherwise, you’ll be eating chicken in a heavy sauce for a week. I used to say I could eat chicken tikka masala everyday! That was a lie.