Chicken Tikka Masala

Although chicken tikka masala is more British than Indian, you’d be hard-pressed to find an Indian restaurant that doesn’t have this creamy, bright-orange dish featured prominently on its menu. But if you do, you’re welcome to come to my house, where chicken tikka masala is on our regular monthly meal rotation. It’s surprisingly easy to pull together, and I promise it’s just as good as anything ordered off the take-out menu. There are probably as many recipes and versions of chicken tikka masala as there are cooks who make it. Even the Wikipedia page on the dish notes that in a survey of 48 recipes, the only common ingredient was chicken. My version probably looks similar — and different — than many other recipes you may have come across, but this is the one that I’ve made my own.

INGREDIENTSChicken Tikka Masala
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon 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
4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewersChicken Tikka Masala 3
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish chicken tikka masala with fresh cilantro.

Chicken Tikka Masala

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