| Prep Time: 10 mins
| Cook Time: 25 mins
| Total Time: 50 mins
You may need: Dried Garlic Powder
You might be surprised to learn that the most popular dish in England is Chicken Tikka Masala, a mashup of Indian flavors with British technique. The world has been debating the genesis of this dish and no one can seem to agree whether it was first concocted in Britain or in India as a Punjabi chef's hack to satisfy a British expat who complained about dry chicken. Despite a shadowy origin, this delicious dish is worthy of a place on our Indian menu.
Chicken Tikka Masala serves up layers of flavors: the curry spices; smoky, lightly charred chunks of chicken; aromatics from fresh ginger and garlic; acidity from tomatoes and lemons; and a rich, buttery sauce that envelops and ties the flavors together. If you prefer to BBQ the chicken, grill the whole breasts on high until they lightly char, then cut into cubes and simmer in the sauce. Finally, our Tikka Masala spice blend can be used as a rub directly on grilled meats.
Chicken + Marinade
1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast (~2 large breasts) cut into 1-2" cubes
1 lemon, juiced (~1/4 cup)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp Piquant Post Garam Masala spice
1 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 can tomato paste (~6 Tbsp)
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Piquant Post Tikka Masala spice
1 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk, or milk)
handful of cilantro roughly chopped for garnish
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Basmati rice, cooked (optional)
Yogurt is a natural meat tenderizer and one that has been used for thousands of years. You can marinate the chicken for as little as 15 mins or up to 3 hours. Any longer and the meat can become stringy.
When using the oven broiler, set a timer and watch the meat carefully. You want to start to char the outside of the chicken (to achieve a delicious smoky flavor) but not burn or dry out the meat. In fact, the meat should not be completely cooked through after broiling. You will finish the cooking process in the pan.
Chicken in Chicken Tikka Masala is traditionally cooked on a Tandoori oven (Indian indoor BBQ). Use your outdoor BBQ if you like and use a high heat flame to achieve a light char, without completely cooking the meat. Watch carefully.
Frying the spices in hot oil (or butter) is a technique called "tempering" and will infuse your dish with all of the spice's essential oils and aroma.
Serve immediately over steamed Basmati rice so the gravy doesn't congeal. We like to keep a little bowl of Garam Masala on the side for extra sprinkling.
Lastly, optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes. Make a marinade by combining yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and Garam Masala in a bowl. Whisk sauce then stir in chicken. Marinate in fridge for 15 mins up to 3 hours.
Move oven rack 6 inches from top and heat oven to Broil. Line a baking sheet or broil pan with foil. Using tongs, shake chicken cubes of excess marinade and place on foil-lined pan. Broil for ~5-6 mins, then flip chicken and broil for 5 more mins. Chicken chunks should be lightly charred, but not cooked through.
While cooking chicken, heat a saucepan on Med. Melt the butter in the pan and when it starts to foam, stir in the Tikka Masala spice. Add the ginger, garlic, and salt and cook for 1 min. Reduce heat to Med-Low and add tomato paste, 1/2 cup water, and cream, whisking until everything dissolves.
Place chicken cubes in tikka sauce and stir to coat. Gently simmer for 8-10 mins. Serve over hot basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro.
For those wanting a lighter recipe, you can swap lite coconut milk, 2% milk or almond (or soy milk) for heavy cream (the sauce will be a bit thinner). Furthermore, reduce butter by half and add 1 tbsp of olive or coconut oil instead.
To make a vegetarian Tikka Masala dish, drop the chicken and substitute in Cauliflower. Cut Cauliflower into large florets, sprinkle with Garam Masala and broil per these recipe instructions to achieve a light char. Then add to the sauce and simmer to finish. Sub in vegan ingredients for the dairy (e.g., coconut oil butter, coconut milk/cashew cream for heavy cream).
You can also try subbing canned (cooked) chickpeas for the chicken. Broil as per the instructions.
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