While I prefer to have my chicken grilled (due to my ‘health freak’ tendencies and all), an indulgent chicken dish is a welcome change when we entertain. Since everyone on this planet seems to know about chiken tikka masala, I was intimidated about trying my hand at it. However, once you collect all the ingredients (from your nearest Indian grocery store), the process is quite simple (though it’s a good idea to make it at least once for yourself before serving it to others!). Have fun with it and enjoy the results!
- 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 4 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
- 4 tsp. ground turmeric
- 2 tsp. garam masala (this comes in a single package at Indian stores)
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
- 3 tsp. ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 dried chiles de árbol or 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
- Steamed basmati rice (for serving)
Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn the pieces to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hrs. (the longer you marinate, the better the taste–but no longer than 8 hrs). Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
Heat ghee (or vegetable oil) in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and the onion is soft (for about 5 minutes). Add the remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown (about 4 minutes).
Add the peeled tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens (this take about 30-40 minutes).
Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through) for about 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes). Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs.
(Recipe and Image via Bon Appetit)