Chicken Tikka Masala
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into large cubes
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chile, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Crushed red chile (optional, can be found in most Asian markets)
In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, grated ginger, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook in oven for 25 minutes, until cooked through.
Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeno and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the ground coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin, paprika, garam masala and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the tomato sauce, half and half and water and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken with all the accumulated juices (don’t omit that!) to the sauce and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro (and crushed red chile, if desired).
Serve over basmati or jasmine rice.
Man. Oh. Man. This is chicken tikka masala, *perfected*. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, intensely rich and savory. Tikka masala nirvana. I can’t imagine it getting any better than this.
Update May 2014: To bulk it up even more, add peas. Delicious!