i'm sorry, you've never tried tikka masala? never heard of tikka masala? honey, that's gotta be changed. this is, hands down, my favorite indian dish. i cannot help but order it at any indian restaurant we visit. tikka masala is a creamy, tomato-y, spicy (as much as you like) very flavorful dish that is best served with naan (indian flatbread - try trader joe's) or rice. i know this recipe isn't straight out of mumbai - more like allrecipes.com - but it's super yummy and doesn't require building a tandoor oven in your home so, let's get cookin'.
chicken tikka masala (चिकन टिक्का मसाला in hindi)
1 c. plain yogurt
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. cumin
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cayenne (i add a touch more, you can take it out altogether if you don't like spice)
2 t. pepper
1 T. minced ginger (or 1 t. ground ginger)
3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
baking rack* (i use the kind you cool cookies on, but make sure your's is oven-safe!)
1 T. butter
1 minced garlic clove
1 finely chopped jalapeño (de-seed and de-vein it to cut down on heat)
2 t. cumin (not a repeat, you need it twice)
2 t. paprika
1 t. salt, or to taste
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 c. cream
1 c. frozen peas (optional)
in a large bowl, combine all ingredients in first section (yogurt to chicken). cover & refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to a day. preheat oven to 475. spread chicken on baking rack place on cookie sheet (there will be lots of drippings, so lining the cookie sheet with foil will help) - discard extra yogurt mix. cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken chunks. melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. sauté garlic & jalapeño for 1 minute. season with 2 t. cumin, paprika & salt. stir in tomato sauce and cream. simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. add chicken & peas and simmer for 10 minutes. serve with rice or naan.
*you can use skewers and grill the chicken on high heat for about 5 minutes per side, if you're feeling outdoorsy.