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If you love Indian food, chances are that you adore Chicken Tikka Masala. Maybe you even crave it?! I can even get my younger cousins–who are scared to try anything new–to eat chicken tikka masala…it is that good!
It’s a flavorful Indian curry which is equally fattening as it is tasty. This is not a curry I would make often, and if I did…I definitely would lighten it up. Instead, this recipe is very, very similar to what you would receive at your favorite Indian restaurant. I’m so confident, I would even say it may be better!
You see…the sad thing about ordering Chicken Tikka Masala at an Indian restaurant in America is that the chefs have discovered the magical condiment: ketchup! I like ketchup, yes–on burgers, or with fries. I do not like ketchup with my curry. Thank. You. Very. Much.
I’m not real sure why some chefs have added ketchup to their recipes, but I think it may have something to do with the color and the sweetness. To me, it just tastes weird.
This recipe involves no ketchup; and instead uses tomato paste and my pre-made curry gravy base (recipe here). It also uses a combination of half & half and milk. Cream would be more authentic (if you can even call chiken tikka masala an authentic dish…but that’s another post!), but I just can’t bring myself to add it. I don’t really feel it’s neccessary, as the milk and half & half mixture makes a perfect curry.
I hope you try my version, and if you do…let me know what you think! Play around with the spices a little. Does your local restaurant add more clove? Nutmeg? Cinnamon? If you like it…add it! That is the true beauty of a curry…it’s versatility!
Chicken Tikka Masala
Inspired by: The Curry Guy
(serves 6, generously)
- 1 lb chicken breast, diced and marinated (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon ghee (sub. veg. oil)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 7 cloves garlic – smashed and diced fine
- 1 inch ginger – smashed and diced fine
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoon fresh fenugreek leaves (leave out if you can’t find)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- red chilli powder, to taste –taste as you add! Sometimes, less is more!!!!!
- juice of 1/2 small lemon
- 3 cups curry gravy base – (recipe here)
- 1/2 c. half & half
- milk, as needed
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1 handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup yogurt
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. paprika (this shouldn’t be hot. It’s mostly for color)
- 1 tsp. ground chile pepper (I use Kashmiri)
- 2 tsp. ground pepper
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- a little red food coloring—if you want
- 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
- approximately 1 lb. chicken breast – cut into bite size pieces
Put them in the oven and broil until they start turning a little black on the edges and look dry. The chicken won’t actually be dry, the yogurt in the marinade will help keep that from happening.
When it’s done, it should look a little like this:
Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Once it gets warm, add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, turmeric, coriander powder, and garam masala. Stir until everything becomes fragrant and dry.
Toss in the garlic and ginger. Cook for about a minute before adding the tomato paste, red chilli powder and fenugreek leaves (I think fenugreek and nutmeg are *secret* ingredients). Stir everything together. It will be dry and look something like this:
Add the butter and 3 cups curry gravy base and whisk everything together. Once it’s smooth, add the lemon juice and half & half. Transfer the curry to a blender and blend until smooth (this can be skipped if you don’t mind a few little chunks). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the cooked chicken and let the curry simmer for about 15 minutes. It’ll thicken slightly, use milk to thin…if you’d like. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with rice or rotis.
I hope I didn’t miss anything! It’s been a long day, but I really wanted to get this recipe posted!
Because it’s so delicious…and so not good for you!…one thing I do to keep my portion sizes reasonable is that I make my Chicken Tikka Masala extra spicy. Spicier foods tend to fill me up faster, and I feel happy and satisfied (although my mouth is on fire!) on about a half cup of curry.
I’m sure leftovers won’t be wasted, but if you can manage to save a couple cups of the chicken tikka masala…you could have this for dinner the next day:
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