My favorite Indian restaurant has the most awesome lunch buffet on the weekends. It's the only time we eat Indian, because it allows us to try a bunch of dishes, without the committment. My absolute favorite is Chicken Tikka Masala (chicken marinated in yogurt and spices then served in a tomato cream sauce), but they only serve it on Saturdays. Unfortunately, they only serve Kheer (a delicious rice pudding Indian dessert) on Sundays - so that is when we go. (Dessert will always win out!)
I decided to attempt to make my own Tikka Masala at home. I must say...this recipe is a winner! If you like Indian/Pakistan flavors, you will love this dish. It's a keeper, and one that I will definitely be adding to my arsenal.
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces skewers
1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp cumin (yes, again!)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 tsp paprika
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro salt, to taste
In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger and salt. Stir in chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thread marinated chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. (Chicken will finish off on the stovetop.)
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 tsp cumin, paprila and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low hear until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.
I served this dish with a side of rice that I added shaved carrot and a little cumin to. So good!
The sauce has a wonderful bite that hits you in the back of the throat...if you don't like hot foods, cut down on the cayenne pepper and omit the jalapeno. The sauce is so silky, and the marinade made the chicken so tender. We had absolutely no leftovers, which stinks because it would've made a fabulous lunch!
I could've kicked myself though - this meal definitely needed some Naan and a Mango Lassi to truly "make" the experience.
BTW - Check out my little helper: