Tikka Masala

One of the best Indian restaurants in our area has a delicious lunch buffet. When our family went to lunch there, everyone's favorite was the bright orange tikka masala. I decided I could try to cook some, and after a bit of research found this recipe. All the color is provided by the spices, and the flavors are amazing. This dish was a big hit!



Tikka Masala


Sauce
2 tablespoons ghee or melted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons paprika 
1 tablespoon white sugar

Chicken
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon curry powder, like garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
Heat ghee (clarified butter) or melted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add cumin, salt, ginger, cayenne pepper (use less if you don't like it spicy), cinnamon, and turmeric. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes, until the spices are well mixed and fragrant.

Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the cream, paprika, and sugar, and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While the sauce is simmering, chop up the chicken. Heat some oil in a skillet and cook the chicken over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the curry powder, salt, and optional sugar. Cook until the chicken is brown and none of the chicken has any pink showing.

Add the chicken and any juices to the sauce. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Serve over rice, with naan or another type of bread.

Takes about 1-1/2 hours start-to-finish. Most of the time is simmering time. Serves 6, unless you have a teenager who loves tikka masala.

Melinda's Notes: I doubled the sauce, and used about 4 cups of chopped chicken. Everyone ate tons, and we barely had leftovers. I also added a little extra garam masala, since the flavor wasn't quite strong enough for my taste. Some people claim you can substitute equal parts of plain yogurt and milk for the cream.

Update 4/5/13: It's pretty important to follow each step and allow the spices to work. The simmering, frying, etc. can't really be cut down, or the spices will not develop properly.

Update 11/4/13: You can make this several hours ahead if your stove will hold a very low temperature without burning the curry. The flavors blend very well. Next time, I'll try a crock-pot.

Comments

  1. Correction to instructions: add ginger with cumin, salt cayenne pepper etc...
    Made this tonight and added carrots and cubed potatoes that I had previously cooked in my pressure cooker. I added them the last 10 minutes of simmering. I also used half and half and that seemed to work as well as cream. (trying to make healthier choices in our meals)

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  2. I only do 1 or 2 dashes of cayenne, i just can't do the heat. I also use 1 1/2 tsp garam masala on the chicken instead of curry powder. 

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