During the first months of pregnancy with my first son Omar, the only dish I could eat and keep in my stomach, was Curry Chicken. From there on, the Indian cuisine became one of our favorite cuisines. Not to mention my oldest son’s passion for Curry. I have already posted my favorite recipe of Curry Chicken. Chicken Tikka Masala uses a slightly different technique and tastes a little different from Curry Chicken. Don’t get scared of the ingredient list – it might look slightly complicated, but you will get everything in a heartbeat :) Plus isn’t it all worth it when you enjoy your Chicken Tikka Masala with some nice home-made Naan?
- 3 tomatoes (2 tomatoes to puree for the sauce+1 cubed tomato to cook along with chicken)
- 2 onions (1 onion cubed onion to cook along with the chicken+1 onion thinly diced for the sauce)
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1 whole chili pepper OR pickled hot pepper
- 2 lbs of chicken fillet
- 1 cup of yogurt
- 1/2 tsp+1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp+1Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp+1/2 tsp ground red chili pepper
- 6 Tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2+1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- garam masala
- 1 Tbsp cashew or peanuts
- 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 lime or lemon
- 1/2 tsp tikka masala (optional)
- 1 1/2 cup of water
Cut 1 tomato, 1 onion, chili pepper and red pepper into medium size cubes. Cut the chicken into same size pieces as the vegetables.
Peel the skin off the two remaining tomatoes, cut in cubes and place them in the blender, along with the chopped nuts of your choice. Puree the ingredients well and set aside for later.
To make a coating for the chicken, in a medium bowl mix yogurt, 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1/2 tsp of coriander powder, 1/2 ground chili pepper, 1 Tbsp of ginger garlic paste, juice of half lemon, 1/2 salt and 4 Tbsp of canola oil. Mix all ingredients well. Divide the marination in half and with each half coat the chicken and the cubed vegetables in separate bowls. Note that I make my own ginger garlic paste. You can certainly buy ready mixtures in jars at your grocery store.
You can either bake the marinated chicken in the oven or grill it. I chose to cook it on a large skillet. The procedure is the same for all options. Heat the skillet on medium-high heat and place the chicken carefully. Only flip on the other side once the bottom side is nice and golden. Cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes and top it up with marinated vegetables. Do not mix in the vegetables with the chicken. Cook the vegetables on top of the chicken for 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Set aside until needed.
Utilize another skillet or a deeper pot to cook the chicken tikka sauce. Heat the designated container in medium-high heat and start sauteing thinly-diced onions. Add 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 tsp of garam masala, 1 Tbsp of ginger garlic paste and 1 tsp of salt. Mix the ingredients well and make sure the onions are not burning. If you need to bring the heat down, by all means do so. In fact, you can cook the onions in lower heat to be on the safe side.
While the onion mixture is getting cooked, prepare the spices. As always, I chose to pre-mix the spices in a little bit of water instead of just adding the spices into the hot pan. This will prevent the spices from burning and leaving a strange, bitter taste. In 4 Tbsp of water mix in 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1 Tbsp of ground cumin, 1 Tbsp ground coriander, 1/2 chili powder. Mix everything well and add to the onion mixture.
When you see that the oil starts to slowly separate from the onion mixture, add the ready tomato+nut puree. Add 1 cup of water, mix everything well and cover the lid of the pan to simmer the sauce for couple of minutes. Sometimes I add extra tikka masala powder. You do not have to do it, but if you have it handy, you might as well utilize it.
Once the sauce is ready, slowly add the chicken with vegetables into the sauce. Simmer the whole thing for about 15 minutes and your chicken tikka masala is ready to be served :)
Serve with warm Naans!!! Bon Appetit!