Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Chicken Tikka Masala

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

This is one of the most widely eaten Indian dishes in Britain, and I've been intrigued to prepare Britain's take on Indian food. Jaime Oliver had said that this "there's a big debate over the exact origins of this recipe - most Indians would say it's a bastardised British dish." Hilarious. But from the looks of the recipe, it was similar to stewed chicken with a creamy sauce with lots of aromatics.

In full J.O. Food Revolution mood, I made the tikka masala paste from scratch or you can purchase the already made sauce at the store. I do not like using pre-made sauces because there is too much sodium and additional preservatives that I rather not think about. Besides when you make your own sauce from scratch, you learn more about the food. The tikka masala paste was similar to making a pesto. It was very easy to prepare, but only if you have the proper tools. My beautiful marble mortar and pestle came in handy for the paste, and my mini food processor, too. This was such a great dish and we really enjoyed the classic tikka flavours with the creamy, slightly sweet sauce. The chicken was light and the fluffy basmati rice was not too heavy, and it all paired well with a simple green salad.
 Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from Jaime's Food Revolution: Rediscover how to cook simple, delicious, affordable meals
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch strips
2 medium onions
1 fresh red chile
1 tablespoon ginger, thinly sliced or grated
1 small handful of fresh cilantro - separated - cilantro stalks, chopped fine, and cilantro leaves
Peanut oil
1/2 cup tikka masala paste or tikka masala (Recipe below)
Salt & pepper
a pat of butter
1 x 14 ounce can of coconut milk
8 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth
1 x 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 cup natural yogurt
small handful of sliced almonds
1 lemon
Tikka Masala Paste - 2 cloves garlic (minced), thumb-size piece ginger, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 fresh red chiles, small bunch of cilantro, 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons almond flour (I had used sliced almonds), 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • Toast the spices for a couple of minutes, and add toasted spices to mortar and pestle and grind until fine. Add all the ingredients into a food processor until you have a smooth paste. This makes 1 full cup.
1. Put a large dutch oven (or wok) on medium to high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil and butter. Add the onions, chile, ginger, and cilantro stalks and cook for 10 minutes until transculent.
2. Add the curry paste and mix, and let it cook together for at least 1 minute. Add the chicken chunks and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the canned tomatoes and coconut milk. Fill 1/2 of the empty cans with low-sodium chicken broth, pour into pan and stir again.
4. Bring mixture to a boil, and then turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
5. When the meat is tender and cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with basmati rice and almonds and garnish with cilantro leaves. Pair it with a little lemon-dressed green salad.
Review: DELICIOUS! I was worried to serve this to Eric, my sometimes picky eater, but he devoured it quickly! I'm in love with basmati rice, it's always so light and fluffy and this tikka masala was perfect with it. This was a nice change-up from our typical chicken dishes, and if you aren't a fan of spice - then omit the chiles. Overall, this is a winner in our kitchen and I'll be making it again.
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