Some say this popular Indian dish was invented in England, others say it was created in India. Whichever side of the fence you sit, it's tasty! Comprised of bite-size chunks of marinated chicken in yogurt, roasted, and served in a seasoned spicy tomato cream sauce. The spice list may be daunting but very much customized to your taste and heat preferences.
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1 can (15-oz) diced peeled tomatoes, or tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1-3 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon paprika
½-1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon salt, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
Cooked basmati rice
Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, minced garlic, ginger, garam masala, optional cayenne, and salt. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; add to marinade, mix well, cover and refrigerate at least 15 minutes to overnight.
Drain marinade from chicken and discard (note - marinade is thick and will not all drain off). Place chicken on baking sheet and broil until browned on top. No need to turn. Alternate method, place chicken on skewers and grill.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add optional chopped peppers, garlic and ginger; stir until sizzling and fragrant (do not burn). Add tomatoes (or tomato sauce), cumin, garam masala, paprika, coriander and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened (10-15 minutes). Stir in cream. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Add chicken to the sauce and simmer until it is cooked through and hot. Serve Chicken Tikka Masala with cooked rice, garnished well with fresh snipped cilantro.
The spice list may be daunting but very much customized to your taste and heat preferences. Generally use about 1-2 tablespoons spices in the marinade and an additional 1-2 tablespoons in the sauce. Here are the most common spices in my order of preference: garam masala (see below), cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and turmeric.
* Garam Masala is a blend of spices common to India. It is readily found in the spice section of the grocery store, under different brands, with varying combination of spices and proportions. Experiment with brands, or make your own blend. Here is a basic recipe, adjust as you like: Mix together the following ingredients and store in an airtight container.
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
** Replace chilies with 1/4 -2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or eliminate for mild dish.