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วันจันทร์ที่ 27 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2553

Chicken Tikka Masala


I first tried Chicken Tikka Masala when I was studying abroad in London and my first thought was, "Oh Chicken Tikka, where have you been all my life?" Ever since, I find myself ordering Chicken Tikka Masala every. single. time we go out to a non-veg Indian restaurant. I always have the intention to order something new - like korma or paneer palak - and yet I find myself asking the waiter for good old Chicken Tikka. So, obviously, I had to find a way to make it myself.

This recipe has been a stand-by in our house for a few years now. For those of you who think you don't like Indian food, I'd encourage you to try this. It's basically fragrantly-spiced chicken in a tomato cream sauce over basmati rice. See? Not scary at all. And, for the record, Chicken Tikka Masala isn't a classic Indian dish. It's more of a British adaptation of Indian food. That's why those who don't care for Indian food usually like Chicken Tikka Masala.

Marinade Ingredients:
1 cup yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 - 2 tsp cayenne pepper (this depends on how spicy you would like it to be)
1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (again - how spicy do you want it?)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (keep your ginger in the freezer - much easier to grate!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces*

*For a time saver I leave the breasts whole and simply cook them in the oven and cut into bite-sized pieces before adding them to the sauce. The chicken doesn't have that great crispy grill taste, but it still works.

Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tbsp butter
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz tomato sauce
1 cup half-and-half

Fresh cilantro for garnish, chopped
1. Combine all marinate ingredients and add chicken. Marinate at least an hour.

2. Fire up grill. While waiting for grill to get hot, place chicken chunks on skewers. This part is no fun. Lightly oil grill grate if you remember to and/or can make your Husband do it. Grill chicken skewers ~5 minutes on each side. You want them to have some nice blackened parts. Mmm....carcinogens.

3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for one minute, taking care not to let garlic burn. Now inhale deeply. Is this the best smell ever or what? Add cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and half-and-half. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally (~20 minutes). Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 more minutes.

4. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle fresh cilantro over sauce. Admire how the colors are so vibrant. Serve with basmati rice and cucumber-tomato salad.

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