Chicken Tikka Masala
This creamy, spiced curry made with tomato and hunks of chicken is a longtime favorite of Indian food lovers. This version is streamlined a bit, making it not-quite-authentic, but truly accessible to anyone with a well-stocked pantry. It's also adapted for those without a grill, so the yogurt-marinated chicken spends a few minutes under the broiler to replicate the blackened, smoky bits. Finally, chicken breasts or thighs work equally well here.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon garam masala
- 2teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2teaspoons ground cumin
- 2teaspoons hot paprika or 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 5 ½teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 ½cups whole-milk yogurt
- 2tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- 6large cloves garlic, finely grated
- 2-inch piece of ginger, finely grated
- 2pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, left whole, or breasts, cut in half lengthwise or in thirds if extra large
- 2tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
- 1large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 3tablespoons tomato paste
- 1(28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
- ¾cup heavy cream
- 1 ½cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
Step 1Combine garam masala, turmeric, cumin, paprika, 1½ teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl.
Step 2In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup yogurt, lemon juice, 3 cloves of garlic, half the ginger and half the spice mixture together. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 4 hours, up to 8 hours.
Step 3Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned in spots, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, remaining garlic, ginger and spice mixture and cook, stirring frequently until spices are fragrant and tomato paste has started caramelizing on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes.
Step 4Crush tomatoes with your hands, leaving some larger bits and add them and any liquid left in the can to the pot along with the heavy cream and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and stir, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until flavors meld and the sauce is thickened slightly, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cover until chicken is ready (or after cooling, refrigerate if marinating chicken for more than 4 hours).
Step 5Once chicken is ready, turn on the broiler and place oven rack about 6 inches away from heat source.
Step 6Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil and place a wire rack inside the pan. Remove chicken from the marinade, scraping off any excess, and place the pieces on the rack. Broil just until lightly charred in spots, 5 to 7 minutes on the first side, before flipping pieces and broiling an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 7Bring tomato sauce to a simmer if it’s not already. Remove chicken from the oven and transfer to spiced tomato sauce along with remaining ½ cup yogurt. Continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened nicely, 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 8Divide chicken among four bowls and top with cilantro. Serve with rice or naan for dipping.