Monday, October 29, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food. It's always bursting with flavor and usually has some meat and vegetables in some kind of delicious sauce (I'm a sauce fanatic). Most of the time I'd be happy to just have sauce on rice or dip my naan in it. Yum... Well, I always try to make curry dishes and fail every time. I never can get the flavor right. This time I tried something different - Chicken Tikka Masala. Success!!! And it uses those blanched almonds from yesterday. Be sure to plan ahead for this meal - you need to marinate the chicken overnight (or all day).
Chicken Tikka Masala
for the marinade...
1 cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt & pepper to taste
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

for the tikka masala...
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup blanched whole almonds (or 1/4 cup almond flour)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons pure chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 35-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 red bell pepper, cut into1 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely cut into 1 inch pieces
other vegetables work well too (fresh green beans, sliced carrots, etc)

2 cups prepared white or brown rice (for serving)

First, prepare the chicken and marinade (the night before)...
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, make the tikka masala...
Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on a greased baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces.

While the chicken is cooking under the broiler, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground. NOTE: If you want to save a little time, you can just use almond flour if you have it.

In a large stock pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken and bell peppers; simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and serve with rice and/or naan.



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