Chicken Tikka MAsala
It's the first snow of the year and our bodies are craving Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken tikka masala is a restaurant favorite, and one of Britain's national dishes. Interestingly, if you travel to India, you are unlikely to find it on a local menu since it’s very much aN English invention that dates back to the 60s. It marries the North Indian specialty of juicy marinated tandoori chicken with the European preference of cream-based sauces. In the best of establishments chicken tikka masala will be creamy and often only mildly flavored, with a richness that can leave you very full. This chicken tikka masala recipe makes some minor adjustments to create a meatier version with a more robust flavor profile, by using Moji’s Tandoori-Style Chicken Masala and a high quality full-fat Greek yogurt instead of cream. For that critical final touch, we finish with a sprinkle of Moji’s Kashmiri Garam Masala. The end-result is a beautiful, luxurious braised chicken dish with layers of tantalizing flavor!
Looking for a vegetarian/Vegan Equivalent to chicken tikka masala ? Check out our Braised Tofu in Tomato Sauce we made earlier this week.
1 ½ cups full-fat plain Greek yogurt, like Fage Total 5%
2 tablespoons olive oil (for the marinade)
1 packet MM Tandoori-Style Chicken Masala
2.25 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approx. 8 pieces)
3 tablespoons high-heat neutral oil (like canola or sunflower)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon garlic/ginger paste or 2 teaspoons minced garlic and 1 teaspoon minced ginger
14 oz. high-quality finely chopped Italian tomatoes, like Pomi or Mutti
½ teaspoon of MM Kashmiri Garam Masala
1 handful of chopped cilantro leaves, with small stems (for garnish) [optional]
1.5 cups Thai jasmine or Indian basmati rice (prepare as instructed)
Marinade (10 minutes)
Step 1 In a medium size mixing bowl blend ½ cup of yogurt with the olive oil. Add two tablespoons of the Tandoori-Style Chicken Masala and mix until you have an even, smooth paste.
Step 2 Add the chicken to the yogurt mixture, making sure that all pieces are well-coated (your hands are the best tools in the kitchen for this). Marinate 1-48 hours if you can.
Chicken Tikka Masala (40 minutes)
Step 1 Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In the meantime, blend the remaining cup of yogurt with ¼ cup of water until smooth and set aside.
Step 2 Lay the marinated chicken pieces touching side-by-side on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the outside is just cooked. Remove from the oven and cut each thigh into 4-5 pieces. Set aside.
Step 3 Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the hot oil and sauté until golden brown (approximately 4-5 minutes).
Step 4 Add the garlic-ginger paste and sauté for about 15 seconds until fragrant.
Step 5 Add the tomato and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, until much of the water has evaporated and the tomato has softened and cooked down. The tomato is properly cooked at this stage, when it starts to darken, and the oil begins to separate out.
Step 6 Add the remainder of the Tandoori-Style Chicken Masala packet and blend well into the onion-tomato mixture, adding a splash of water as necessary to keep the pot and the spices from burning. Sauté for about a minute so the spices have a chance to bloom and cook properly.
Step 7 Turn the heat to medium-low. Stir in the remaining one cup of yogurt a little at a time and blend well. Let the yogurt gently warm up, while stirring vigorously to keep the yogurt texture smooth.
Step 8 Add in the partially baked chicken and coat well. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. Stir a few times every 3-4 minutes to make sure the chicken is not sticking to the bottom of the pan and the dish is not drying out. About half-way through a good amount of water should be released. If your pot is dry, stir in a quarter cup of water so the chicken can continue to cook fully.
Step 9 When the chicken is fully cooked, reduce the liquid, if necessary, until you are left with a slightly thick, gravy-like texture. Take the pot off-heat and stir in the garam masala. Add ¼ teaspoon more if you prefer a fuller flavor. Adjust salt to taste. Garnish and serve immediately with rice or gently reheat for later.