Chicken Tikka Masala

IMG_0556

IMG_0541Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from RecipeTin Eats 

Ingredients

Chicken Marinade:

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large (about 2-inch) chunks
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons each salt, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cooking Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed

Curry Sauce Spices:

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Curry Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Method

Chicken Tikka:

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and mix. Add chicken and turn well to coat. Cover with cling wrap and leave in fridge to marinate overnight (3 hours minimum).

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick pan over high heat until smoking. Add half the chicken and spread out. Leave for 2 minutes or until charred. Turn each piece and cook the other side until charred (don’t worry if it is not fully cooked inside). Remove to bowl. Scrape out charred bits left in pan, add more oil if required, and cook remaining chicken. Remove to bowl.

Curry Sauce:

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and turn heat down to medium high. Add onions, ginger, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the ginger is starting to turn golden and the onions smell sweet, about 4 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the Curry Sauce Spices, and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato sauce and water and mix. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour curry into a bowl, then use a stick blender to puree until smooth (or use a traditional blender). Return sauce to skillet. Add half and half and sugar. Add reserved chicken and stir. Simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Garnish with minced cilantro, if desired. Serve with rice and/or naan.

NOTES

So, here’s the thing. I already have a recipe on this site for chicken tikka masala. I’ve made it probably a couple dozen times over the years, many times for guests and family, and everyone loves it. Everyone except me and Steve, that is. I mean, it’s good! But it never wowed us and in recent years we have much preferred my butter chicken or cashew korma.

Until now. Holy crap, this dish is AMAZING. I revised the original recipe in some significant ways, if only to make it fully a tikka masala rather than a cross between tikka masala and butter chicken, but I left the method of searing/charring and the spice and aromatics levels the same. I think both of those things were key because the end result has a crazy intense depth of flavor and a lovely heat, just as it should. I will not take my old recipe down, but no way am I going back to it after this!

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