Chicken Tikka Masala, also known as chicken in creamy tomato curry, is a great entry level Indian dish. No curry powder, no hot spices, no strange flavors just tomatoey goodness. Your family will be begging for more!
I love love LOVE Indian food - and I wish more people would embrace it! I think because some have a really strong aversion to curry (or the smell of curry) that they write the entire cuisine off. The truth is that calling something a curry means it's just a basic spiced soup or stew. This dish, and most Indian dishes I've made at home, don't contain a drop of curry powder. Instead, they have a delicious blend of other staple spices plus a few new ones that might be unfamiliar.
If your family likes tomato based dishes, they will probably love this dish. Chicken is marinated overnight, grilled, and then tossed into a creamy tomato sauce. Serve it over basmati rice accompanied with a big piece of naan bread. Yum!
I originally shared this recipe almost 4 years ago and it deserved a revisit!
Chicken Tikka Masala
For the marinade:
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
For the sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece ginger, minced
2 serrano peppers, seeds removed and minced (keep seeds if you want heat)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the diced chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Bring a large skillet to medium-high heat and add the oil and butter. Once melted, add the garlic, ginger, and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until darkened, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and paparika and saute about 1 minute.
Add the diced tomatoes and their juices plus 1 cup water. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Preheat grill and lightly brush with oil. Carefully shake off excess marinade and place the chicken pieces on the grill. Cook until charred, about 2 minutes on each side. The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce.***
Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use your immersion blender, and process until smooth. Pour back into the skillet and bring it back to a boil. Add the grilled chicken and fenugreek, if using. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cream and stir to combine.
***Too cold to fire up the grill? Lightly coat a wire rack with cooking spray, place it on a baking sheet, and add the chicken to the rack. Broil on high, turning once, until the chicken starts to char. It won't have the same chargilled taste but it's warmer!
Source: slightly adapated from Aarti Sequeria