One of my favorite types of food out there is Indian food. I crave it all the time and could seriously eat it everyday. The best Indian food that I’ve found is at Bombay Cafe in West LA. It’s definitely one of my favorite restaurants. Ever. Period. Point Blank. That’s it. There was a time when I was going once a week, and I would always end up ordering the same thing, Chicken Tikka Masala. To the point where the waitress already placed my order before I could even tell her.
I began to realize that I was obsessed and couldn’t picture myself living without this wonderful dish. Rich with all of its spices, and incredible flavor. Heavenly because of its tender juicy all white-meat chicken. The sauce that I could drink straight up, or pour over my rice; it called out to me. It still does. But I started thinking, I could easily make this myself. However, I was always scared to try making this one at home. Too daunting a task for me to even try to convey on my own. I finally came across a recipe that was worth trying, on the Pioneer Woman site. I saw it and just knew that this was the recipe worth making. So here it is, my attempt, which just happens to be a really good one.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Yogurt and Heavy Cream.
Yes heavy cream, not half and half. Not milk. Especially not 2% milk. Heavy Cream. Be dangerous.
Onions, Garlic and Ginger
Cilantro and a chili pepper
All kinds of spices.
Cinnamon *********** The Star of the Show
First thing we need to do is season the chicken.
Sprinkle the chicken with Salt.
Add some freshly cracked black pepper, cumin and coriander.
Flip the chicken over and do the same thing on the other side.
Don’t just season the top. Both sides need the same amount of love and attention. Remember…this is the ultimate tikka masala.
Pour some yogurt onto each chicken breast.
Grab a pan lined with aluminum foil.
Definitely makes clean up a whole lot easier.
Foil happens to be my best friend in the kitchen. If it makes you all feel better, my sister forces me to buy recycled aluminum paper.
So there. I did my part for the environment.
Place the broiler pan over it.
If you don’t have one of these pans, you can just place a wire rack over the pan.
Rub the chicken all over with the yogurt.
Massage it into the chicken. Show it some love and tenderness.
Place it over the pan .
Had to throw this next picture (below) in for fun. I took it with my 35mm film camera for my Color Photography class this semester. I really enjoyed it so I thought I would share it with you all.
Place in a pre-heated broiler. Lower the rack to the bottom so that the chicken doesn’t brown too fast before getting a chance to cook all the way through.
And just because I want two broiling chicken pictures; here’s another.
Other than I like both pictures.
You decide which one you like better.
Let me know.
While it cooks, keep an eye on it. It is the broiler after all and it can burn things really fast if you turn your back on it for too long.
Let’s start working on our wonderful sauce. The best part of the dish. The only part that matters.
Tikka Masala Sauce.
Grab some onions. My onions happened to be really small, for some reason, so that’s why I’m using quite a bit. But if you have one giant one, that’ll work. Or two medium ones.
I have four tiny, itty bittys.
Slice off the ends, cut them in half and peel off the skins.
Dice the onions, which just means cut into small pieces.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat.
Throw in a dab of butter.
We have to saute these onions.
Once the pot is hot and the butter has melted, throw in the onions.
You want to saute them until they are lightly caramelized and translucent.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, grab a couple cloves of garlic.
Place the knife over them and give it a smash.
Peel the cloves.
Look at that…just like magic. One minute they have their skins on, and the next minute they’re peeled.
Mince the cloves.
See, this is the color of minced garlic. It’s a natural fresh color, not like the minced garlic sold in jars at the market. It’s all brown and murky and liquidy….EWwWW. We don’t want that in our Marsala! That’s gross.
Drop it into the pot of sautéing onions.
Continue to cook the onions along with the minced garlic.
Next up: The Ginger
Use a spoon to peel the ginger root. What?!?!! I know, sounds crazy. But you read right, yes, use the spoon to scrape down the skin. It comes right off.
Peel the ginger root completely.
Grate the ginger, using a microplane, into the pot with the sautéing onions and garlic.
Season the onions, garlic, and ginger with all of the spices, salt and pepper.
Stir the mixture.
Okay time for the chili pepper. This is optional if you’d like. You might think its too hot, but once everything is cooked and melds together, there isn’t any heat. Just awesome flavor.
Go ahead, add it.
Chop it up. Most of the heat lays in the seeds and ribs inside, so if you’d like, you can take those out.
I use it all, again, no heat at the end result, I promise.
In fact, my family wouldn’t have eaten it if it was spicy. But they finished it up! So there you have it.
Add it to the pot.
Don’t forget about the chicken. Flip it over so that the other side gets charred as well.
Continue to cook until the chicken breasts are charred all around.
Pop it back under the broiler.
Let’s get back to the sauce. Open the can of diced tomatoes.
Pour it into the pot.
To cut the acidity of the canned tomatoes, sprinkle in some sugar.
Just a tiny bit, but it makes a world of distance. Before you get all stand-offish and think that it’ll sweeten the sauce…..It wont. It’ll balance out all the flavors. You’ll see.
Stir in the sugar and allow the sauce to simmer for a bit.
Meanwhile, lets make some basmati rice to serve along side it.
Pour your rice into a strainer, and rinse with cold water.
Bring a pot of water to boil, along with a bit of butter and a dash of salt.
While we wait for this to boil, take out the chicken, it should be done by now.
Allow the chicken to cool, before cutting.
Once the water comes up to a boil, pour in the rice.
Give it a stir. Cover it, reduce the temp to low, and allow to cook for 20 minutes.
While the rice cooks, let’s finish up the sauce.
I know it seems like a lot of steps, and it might look a little hard, it’s not.
It’s really easy, and worth all the effort. As cooks, we need to learn how to multitask.
Okay, where was I? Oh yea, the sauce.
Let’s add some heavy cream.
The best part of this dish.
By now you should know that I try to make every dish as sinful as possible, so I was happy to see that this recipe called for heavy cream.
It’s a heavy cream waterfall. Stir the sauce.
The cream should give it the classic Tikka Masala color.
Throw in a little paprika…I think it needs a little more color.
Stir once more.
The chicken should be cooled by now. Move them to a cutting board, and get ready to chop.
Give it a dice. I like, bigger pieces, but feel free to cut as big or as small as you’d like.
Add the chicken to the simmering sauce.
Stir the chicken into the sauce, making sure it’s all well coated.
It needs some color.
The rice will be done at this point.
And that’s the Chicken Tikka Masala.
I like to serve it with Basmati Rice, of course, since we just made it.
And it’s very important that you have something to mop up all that delicious sauce with.
Traditionally, at Indian restaurants you get naan, but I didn’t have any on hand. So I used pita bread. Warmed Pita bread.
It worked just fine. What? I’m multi-cultural here. It’s okay.
This is what makes me happy….oh wait!
No this does.
Serve yourself a plate. I know I am.
And there you have it! A wonderful, chicken tikka masala recipe, thanks to The Pioneer Woman. I love making take out at home. Whenever I go to a restaurant and fall in love with a dish, I always try to make it a point to remember the flavors and ingredients. And then I’ll challenge myself to recreate it. It’s a fun game I have with the family. Make this for your next family dinner night, they’ll go crazy for it. Enjoy.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Taken from The Pioneer Woman site. Thank you Pastor Ryan, for this wonderful recipe.
- 3 whole (to 4) Chicken Breasts
- Kosher Salt
- Ground Coriander
- Cumin, To Taste
- 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
- 6 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 whole Large Onion
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 piece (approximately 2 Inches) Chunk Fresh Ginger
- Garam Masala (recipe follows)
- 2 Tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 Tsp. Nutmeg
- 1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes
- 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 2 cups Basmati Rice
Garam Masala Spice Mix Recipe:
- 1 tablespoon coriander; ground
- 1 tablespoon cumin; ground
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper; ground
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds; ground
- 1 tablespoon ginger; ground
- 1 tablespoon cardamom; ground
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg; ground
- 1 TEASPOON cloves; ground
Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some kosher salt. Next sprinkle them on both sides with some coriander and cumin. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven.
Next dice one large onion. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until they are slightly browned. As the onions cook, mince your garlic. Next, cut off the outer skin and mince or grate a 1 by 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions. Also throw in about 1 tablespoon of salt.
Next you are going to add about 3 tablespoons Garam Masala spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. And if you like it hot, this is also when you will add your hot chili peppers. Serranos work well. Now you are going to add your can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 tablespoon sugar. Let this mixture simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.
To a rice cooker add 2 cups Basmati rice, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water. Cover, turn on your rice cooker and walk away. If you do not have a rice cooker, cook your rice as usual but make sure that you use Basmati rice.
After the Tikka Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 ½ cups of heavy cream. Now, chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the Tikka Masala sauce. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is a nice addition if you like cilantro. You can also throw some frozen peas into the cooked rice, give them a stir, and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas. It tastes great and gives another nice dash of color. Serve the rice with the Chicken Tikka Masala over top. Make sure to have some Nann bread handy, or pita bread, like I used. Enjoy.