Chicken Tikka Masala

you can see chunks of onion because i gave up on pureeing after my magma spatter disaster. hopefully yours will be smoother.

I do a lot of cooking.  I especially do a lot of cooking while drinking wine and dancing around my kitchen.  Luckily for me, my chopping skills stay mostly intact while drinking.  When I am (occasionally) unlucky, I employ the Bryan Monaghan Certified Medically Sound Method for Healing Kitchen Injuries – I wrap a paper towel really tightly around wherever I’ve cut myself, then swathe the whole thing in duct tape.  It’s great, because it’s really inconvenient AND looks ridiculous.

I didn’t cut  myself during the making of Chicken Tikka Masala, though I did spray myself, the stove and the wall with many droplets of screaming hot pureed tomatoes and onions.  The unfortunate thing is that Sue’s mom JUST sent me a really cute apron for my birthday (thanks again Mrs. Croal!), which I wasn’t wearing because I want to keep it pretty.  Can someone please send me an ugly apron?

Here’s something: Chicken Tikka Masala is the national dish of Britain, according to someone who said that once in Britain.  Basically, it’s a rich, sweetish curry made mostly from tomatoes, cream and spices.  Chances are, if you’ve been to an Indian restaurant in America, you’ve ordered it, as it’s the Indian restaurant equivalent of Pad Thai.  It’s delicious, and this recipe, from Use Real Butter,  is really easy and doesn’t call for anything your local store doesn’t have.  If you cook any Indian or Mexican food at home, you probably have most of the spices already.  It’s hardly any prep at all, and the actual work involved (not including marinating time) takes about 45 minutes.  Simple.  It also makes for EXCELLENT leftovers to take to work for lunch.

Chicken Tikka Masala, from Use Real Butter

For the kebabs:

1 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces

2 tbsp plain yogurt

juice of 1 lime

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground coriander

3/4 tsp paprika (any kind, sweet, hot, whatever)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Method: Mix together all the ingredients but the chicken, then put the chicken in the marinade, in the fridge, for 2-24 hours.  I marinated mine for 6 hours and it was plenty of time.

longer is better, but at least 1-2 hours is fine.

30 minutes before you want to make the curry part, skewer the chicken onto sticks (metal if you have them, if your skewers are wood, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to using them on the grill) and grill them, for about 6-8 total minutes, turning once.  If you don’t have a grill, you can bake them in the oven, on 400 degrees, on a cookie sheet, for about 6-8 minutes, turning once.  When the kebabs are done, remove them to a plate and get them ready to put into the curry a little later.

For the curry:

2-3 tbsp butter

2 big sweet onions, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch piece of ginger, grated

2 big, ripe tomatoes, diced

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tbsp salt

black pepper

1 tbsp sugar

juice of 1/2 a lime

1/4 cup heavy cream

Method:  In a big dutch oven on medium heat, melt the butter, and put in the onion, garlic and ginger.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and lightly browned.  Then, put in all the tomatoes and cook another 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomatoes around.

i mashed the tomatoes for awhile. it was a little like hungry hungry hippos.

At this point, you can do the smart thing, which is put the whole mess into a blender and puree it, or you can do the stupid thing (which of course, is what I did) and try to use an immersion blender to puree it, even though there’s definitely not enough stuff in the pot to NOT spray yourself with many droplets of tomato puree the same temperature as lava.  In any case, puree the mixture, taking care because it is HOT, and then return it to the pot.  Stir in all the spices, lime juice and cream, then mix in the chicken pieces.  Heat the whole thing through, maybe 5-8 minutes.  Serve with jasmine rice and naan.  (Not that I ever advocate eating pre-made food items, but Trader Joe’s has thoroughly decent frozen garlic naan that heats up in a toaster oven in like 2 minutes.  Just saying.)

– Cat

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2 Comments

Filed under Poultry, Recipes

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