My favorite Indian dish of all time is Chicken Tikka Masala. At least I think it is my favorite. After I had it for the first time, there are very few other dishes that I’ve tried! We just returned from a trip abroad and I tried tikka masala in every city we visited. Now that we are back, I’ve been craving it. This week, Joe challenged me to make my own chicken tikka masala. For this challenge, I was allowed to do some research. I’ve included the resources I consulted at the end of this post and you’ll see that I pulled bits and pieces from different recipes.
I started with a marinade for the chicken. It included 3 tablespoons greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, a teaspoon of paprika, and a teaspoon of curry.
I let the chicken breasts marinate in this mixture in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
I returned to my real job, doing communication research, for a few hours while the chicken marinated. Cooking is not my real job, so I have to multitask. When I returned I chopped the following list of vegetables. And this was a rough chop. I knew I planned to blend them so didn’t feel the need to waste time with finely chopping them or making them look pretty.
1 green pepper
1 large tomato
2 jalapeno peppers
1 yellow onion
I sauteed this with a stick of butter until tender.
I started the chicken on the George Foreman grill to get a good sear.
Next, I added the following ingredients to the veggies:
one can tomato sauce
3 teaspoons curry (I would have added more but ran out!)
3/4 teaspoon of ginger
1.5 teaspoon of garlic powder
1.5 teaspoon onion powder
1.5 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
When the chicken was done, I let it rest for a bit. I added about a cup of heavy cream and used an immersion blender to blend the spicy veggie mixture. I added the chicken to the tikka masala, let is simmer for a while to absorb flavors, and it was all done….almost.
I still wanted a little more heat in my dish. Now, I know that sriracha is not traditionally used in Indian cooking, but it was the best option I had. I added about a teaspoon of sriracha. I like sriracha in other dishes too, like my sriracha roasted lamb shanks. The dish turned out really yummy. My first bite still tasted like it wasn’t hot enough, but the heat quickly kicked in as I continued eating. And this recipe gave me plenty to freeze and enjoy at another time! The only thing missing was naan. I’ll have to try this recipe for naan next time.
My recipe was inspired by the following variations:
I also got a few tips from my friend Jenny, who helped me the first time I every tried making tikka masala. =)
Because I’m trying to think of vegetarian and paleo options for many of my favorite meals, my recommendation would be to leave the chicken out to make it vegetarian. All of the taste seems to be in the sauce anyways.Or you can check out my Indian inspired vegetarian recipe for kohlrabi curry.
You could also put the mixture over cauliflower rice instead of basmati to make it paleo.
Another interesting variation of the traditional tikka masala comes from a version I had in Cardif, Wales where the chef added pineapple to the dish. It was a great mix of hot and sweet and added a little more texture (and nutrition?) to the dish.