Hello fans and fellow Taste Buds! I have really been anticipating my attempt at making this dish since the birth of our blog. My first time trying this spicy treat was actually just a few years ago at an Indian restaurant called the Punjabi Dhaba in a small town near my home. The chicken tikka masala I had there was so impressionable on me that immediately upon trying it I had made up my mind that it was among my all time favorite dishes! I hope some of you will have an equally enjoyable experience with this.
The origin of chicken tikka masala is disputed with some believing it came from the Punjab region of India, while others claim it was the creation of a chef in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland several decades years ago. Its similarity to butter chicken gives rise to some of the ambiguity of its beginnings. Tikka literally means “small chunks” and masala is a “mixture of spices.” The chicken goes well with this curry masala, but I have had it with lamb tikka as well with similarly delectable results. I have also heard of other versions made with tofu and paneer (an Indian cheese), but I have not had a chance to try those for myself.
I have had this dish several times in restaurants now and have been trying to decipher the mixture of flavors on my palate. From this and a little internet research, I give you the following recipe to work with for the next challenge. So off to your kitchens everyone and please enjoy!
- 1 lb of chicken breast (cut into bite-sized chunks)
- 6 meat skewers
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 tsp ground red pepper
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (finely minced)
- 1 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 1 small jalapeño pepper (minced)
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garam masala
- salt to taste
- 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
- 1 large tomato (finely chopped)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (to garnish)
Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and mix until the chicken is nicely coated. Cover and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours.
Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and discard the leftover marinade. Grill the chicken evenly on both sides, until juices run clear (about 8 minutes total). Alternatively you can broil the chicken pieces in the oven, but I recommend grilling it over an open flame for the best flavor.
To prepare the sauce, heat a large skillet to medium heat and melt the ghee/butter. Sauté the garlic and chopped jalapeño until fragrant, then add all the spices. Sauté for a few minutes until the mixture turns into a paste.
Pour in the tomato sauce and chopped tomato, stirring constantly. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes on low heat until the sauces begins to thicken, then add the grilled chicken pieces and cream. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the sauce heats through and is of desired thickness. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with steamed rice, naan, or roti.