To some, comfort food means fried chicken and mashed potatoes. To me, it means Chicken Tikka Masala. One of the things I miss most about Cincinnati is the abundance of Indian food. This was my go-to meal whenever I needed a pick-me-up, or just craved something spicy. With no Indian restaurants located near my office here in Parkersburg, I decided to try my hand at making my own to take with me for lunches — the result, is this delicious recipe!
On a scale of 1 to 6, I would say this is about a 3 or 4 in terms of spiciness. If you want to play it safe, feel free to cut back a bit on the cayenne pepper, and only use one jalapeno in your sauce. I choose peppers with a more rounded tip, which are said to be a little milder, and I remove all of the seeds before sautéing.
Chicken Tikka Masala
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves of garlic
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
2 cups of heavy cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, and ginger. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour. You could also let this marinate over night.
2. Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard the marinade. Grill until juices run clear, or about five minutes on each side. If the idea of stepping outside to grill chills you to the bone, you can also preheat your oven to 475 degrees, through all of the chicken onto a baking sheet and cook until done.
3. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 4 teaspoons cumin, paprika and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled or baked chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.
This is best served with rice, and warm naan bread. I like to brush some olive oil, garlic and basil onto my naan before warming it up, which is delicious dipped in the excess masala sauce. Happy cooking & Enjoy!