Chicken Tikka Masala

The other day I caught an episode of one of the better cooking shows out there, America’s Test Kitchen, where they did a couple of Indian-style dishes, and I did this slight variation on their Chicken Tikka Masala recipe and it came out pretty damn good.

Like they did on the show, I prepared a boneless chicken breast under the broiler while I mixed the sauce. I seasoned the chicken with coriander, cayenne, cumin & salt, and then dipped them in a plain yogurt/lemon juice/minced ginger/chopped garlic mix. I let it marinate for a half hour in the refrigerator, and then broiled it for 10-12 minutes a side, turning it once. The only difference with what they did on the show was that I let it sit AFTER the yogurt bath, since I figured that might tenderize it a bit more if it made any difference at all. Whatever…. it came out a little crispy on the outside and amazingly tender and juicy throughout. Yay!

While they were broiling, I prepared the sauce. First, I dry roasted a tablespoon of a good curry powder in a sauce pan and removed it. Then, I sauteed some finely chopped onion in some peanut oil until they were golden, added more minced ginger, garlic, a chopped up de-seeded Serrano chile, and then the toasted curry powder followed by a 1/2 tablespoon of garam masala. I mixed all that up to create a paste of sorts, added a heaping teaspoon of tomato paste, and then 2 heaping tablespoons of the plain yogurt. Once it was all mixed up, I slowly added a little water while stirring until I got the consistency I wanted.

I had left the broiled chicken to rest on a cutting board, then cut it into decent sized chunks, tossed it with the sauce & served it all with some white rice. It also occurred to me that adding less water to keep the masala sauce coating thicker would allow for serving the chicken in folded up naan bread soft tacos of sorts, perhaps topped with some chopped cucumber & tomato.

I realize that using yogurt and not cream & using peanut oil and not ghee takes away from the authenticity, but whatever it was I came up with, it was DAMN GOOD and that’s all that matters! Besides, according to most culinary expert types out there, this dish isn’t authentic Indian food anyway, but a British invention. That must be why it went so well with a Bass Pale Ale Pub Pour. Yum!

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