Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from: Pioneer Woman, who credits Pastor Ryan

Pioneer Woman's entry about this recipe provides some gorgeous photos to illustrate each step. I adapted the recipe somewhat to reduce the amount of fat and sodium, and also to accommodate what I had on hand in the kitchen.

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
ground coriander
ground cumin
1/2 C. plain yogurt (I used Greek)
2 Tbsp butter for sauteeing onions, plus 2 Tbsp butter for rice
1 1/2 C. heavy cream, evaporated milk, or regular milk (PW used heavy cream, I used 1% milk b/c that's what I had on hand.)
28 oz diced or crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
fresh ginger, 1x2 inch piece, peeled and grated
3 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp sugar
2 C basmati rice (I used Jasmine)

Optional: some kind of pepper (serano, jalepeno, etc), cilantro, turmeric, frozen peas

Season the chicken breasts with kosher salt, on both sides. Next, sprinkle both sides with some ground coriander and ground cumin. Coat the chicken breasts completely with yogurt. Place the chicken breasts on a metal cooling rack, which is placed in a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil the chicken 5-7 minutes per side, about 8-10 inches from the heating unit. Watch the chicken so you don't totally char it. A little charring is ok - the edges should be slightly blackened. (It took my chicken about 10 minutes per side to get a slight charring and to be cooked all the way through.)

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the diced onion. Saute until lightly browned. Add minced garlic and ginger. Add a bit of salt to the mixture. Next, add 3 Tbsp garam masala. If you want to add some heat, add some chopped chili pepper here (I added 2 jalapenos, with seeds and ribs removed, minced). Next, add diced tomatoes with their juices. Cook and stir, scraping up any bits from bottom of the pan. Add 1 Tbsp of sugar. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. (I used diced tomatoes, but decided I wanted a smoother sauce, so I used the immersion blender here to smooth things out a bit.)

In a rice cooker, add 2 cups of basmati rice, 2 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp turmeric (optional) and 4 cups of water. Turn rice cooker on and walk away. If you don't have a rice cooker, use your regular method to cook the rice.

After the sauce has had a chance to simmer for a bit, add the heavy cream (or milk). Chop the chicken breasts into chunks and add to the sauce. Add a handful of chopped cilantro if you like. When rice is finished, you can add a handful of frozen peas and stir them into the rice to cook. Serve chicken tikka masala over the rice. Serve with naan.

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