Tuesday, August 20

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

I adore Indian Food, but it's one of those cuisines that I feel consistently evades home cooks. It could be the incredible library of spices and herbs Indian food requires, or maybe the idea that you have to use fancy tagine-like equipment. Whatever it is, I'm here to tell you that you can have Indian at home, and this recipe uses things you probably already have in your kitchen. This is my easy version of Chicken Tikka Masala.
First, you need to marinate your chicken in some spices, yogurt and lemon juice.
It should look like this and the chicken should sit in it for about an hour or so. Then, you can simply grill the chicken or cook it in a nonstick skillet until golden on each side. The sauce for this recipe is just as simple, saute some onions and minced jalapeno, add garlic and a few more spices, tomato sauce and coconut milk and your meal is almost ready to eat.
Once the sauce is finished, throw the chicken in to make sure it's heated through. I like to steam some jasmine rice and brussell sprouts while I whip up the sauce and then poor the chicken over the top of both. I also buy garlic Naan form either Whole Foods or Trader Joe's for scraping every saucy bit left in the bowl.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

For the Marinade:
3/4 C plain greek yogurt
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (more if you like it super spicy, less if you don't)
dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 T fresh minced or grated ginger root
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

For the Sauce:
1/2 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T fresh minced or grated ginger root
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
dash of curry powder
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 a can of light coconut milk (plus more if a thinner or less spicy sauce is preferred)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside for 1 hour.
Heat a grill pan or nonstick skillet to medium heat. Grill or pan sear the chicken until golden brown on each side (this should take about 3-4 min per side). If using a skillet, cook the chicken in two batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan and to prevent boiling. Set the cooked chicken aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeno, sauteing until slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and spices, cooking for one minute more until you can smell them. Turn the heat down and slowly add the tomato sauce, stirring as you add it. Poor in the coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste and simmer the sauce for about 10-15 min, adding the chicken into the sauce about 5 minutes before it's done. The sauce should be pretty thin, but if it gets too thick, add more coconut milk.
Serve over jasmine rice with your favorite vegetable and naan.


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