Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

This was the Kitchen Witches' first foray into the wonderful, spicy and tasty world of Indian cooking. All I can say is WOW and WHY did I wait so long?? These flavors are out of this world good. Familiar, yet exotic all at once. And the smells that they create while cooking... If you've never cooked Indian food, I highly encourage you to try.

When I asked people what Indian food was like I got a lot of "its spicy" comments. I'm kinda wimpy when it comes to heat so maybe that's why I avoided it for so long. This past January I met up with an old friend of mine and she suggested we go out for Indian food. Never having tried it, I agreed, but was apprehensive about it. What if its too spicy? What if I don't like it? What if, what if, what if! The Witches' husband was the voice of reason - he said if it sucks you politely eat a few bites of everything and then we hit up McDonald's on the way home, no harm no foul. So I put my big girl pants on and went out for Indian.

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!!! Sure it was a little intimidating, not knowing what the heck anything on the menu was, save a few items like Naan (flat bread that's awesome!) or mango lasse (basically a yogurt smoothie made with mango). The restaurant we went to had a lunch buffet, while normally I am very anti buffets, I completely appreciated the buffet here. It allowed me to sample at least 10 items off the menu for 1 price, with out the pressure of committing to 1 strange dish. And as a result I'm now an Indian food convert!

So it turns out that the 'spiciness' in Indian food isn't necessarily heat spicy, rather, it is spices spicy. Things like cinnamon, cardamon, clove, ginger and garlic. DELICIOUS! Which leads me to today's post. Chicken Tikka Masala.

A quick Kitchen Witch tip before I get into the recipe. Making Indian food will require you to stock lots of 'exotic' spices that you most likely won't have. Before you go & spend $50 on spices at the grocery store, take a trip to a local health foods store. Here in Colorado Springs we have an awesome place called Mountain Mama. They sell spices and herbs in bulk. This is where I get all my spices & herbs, at rock bottom prices!! You can get as little or as much of each spice that you need, with out being stuck with an entire $10 jar of cardamon pods, or $5 of curry powder. Last time I bought spices I got garam masala, curry powder, cardamon pods, coriander seed, fenugreek seed, cinnamon, chili powder, and a few other things for $12. And I got at least 4-8 TABLESPOONS of each spice!!! Now that's witchcraft :)

Chicken Tikka Masala
Modified from Alton Brown
Makes 8 servings
Marinade for chicken:
3 lbs boneless & skinless chicken thighs, sliced into strips for skewering
1 cup yogurt, plain
1 T garam masala
1 t kosher salt
4 cardamon pods
1/2 t coriander seed
1.5 t cumin seed, whole
1 t black pepper corns, whole
1 t fenugreek seed, whole

Masala sauce:
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 T garam masala
1 t + more to taste kosher salt
1 large onion diced
1 jalapeno diced, seeds left in if you like it hotter
1 c coconut milk
1 T fresh grated ginger
4 cloves garlic minced
2T vegetable oil for sautee

Chicken marinade and preparation:

Heat a small dry skillet (no oil) over high heat. Once pan is hot add the whole spices and move pan around until spices are toasted and smell fragrent, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove spices to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Allow spices to cool before grinding.

Once cooled grind spices into a powder.

Combine with 1T garam masala and 1t kosher salt, mix well. Add the yogurt and mix well. Add sliced chicken to yogurt spice mix and marinate for 3-4 hours.

30 minutes before marinade is finished soak bamboo skewers in water so they don't catch on fire as easily while grilling. Also now is a great time to get your charcoal going or heat up your grill.

Skewer the chicken meat, leaving as much of the yogurt mix on as possible, on soaked skewers, about 2 thighs per skewer.

Grill meat until cooked and nicely charred, the charred edges will add to the flavor.

Masala sauce:

Heat the vegetable oil in a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium-high, until it shimmers and almost begins to smoke. Add the onion and remaining teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onion is browned around the edges, 11 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions have softened and browned completely, approximately 7 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of garam masala and stir several times to coat.

Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have reduced slightly and deepened in color, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the lamb and coconut milk to the tomato mixture and stir to combine and heat through. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with basmati rice.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 258.5
Total Fat 16.4 g
Saturated Fat 8.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.6 g
Cholesterol 93.4 mg
Sodium 171.7 mg
Potassium 422.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Sugars 2.5 g
Protein 22.6 g


Yenta Mary said...

I absolutely ADORE Indian food, and now I'm having a craving -- that looks SOOOO good!!!

Heather said...

Looks great! I'm glad you enjoyed your first foray into Indian cooking. :)

Design Wine and Dine said...

My mouth is watering! One of my favorite Indian dishes!

Jenn said...

I love Chicken Tikka Masala!! Yum!! I actually made one about a month ago, but it turned out....well, how should I put this... it turned out pretty dang awful, I don't know what I did wrong. I'll have to try yours this time..I trust that the Kitchen Witch would not lead me astray! :)

StephenC said...

Congrats on your foray into Indian cooking. I made tikka masala a couple of years ago from a NY Times recipe (still have it) and have a few other Indian recipes I am very fond of. Did you get your spices at Savory?

Betty Ray said...

Ohmigosh - this looks so good! I love indian food but never attempted to make it. Don't tell anyone, but I get my masala from the buffet at Whole Foods. Shhhhh. Can't wait to make it myself. Doesn't seem TOO hard and probably well worth the spice hunt. Thanks so much!

Bo said...

I love Indian food! Glad you were brave enough to try cooking it.

Jess said...

I just made this tonight and it was so good. Grinding the spices had me worried that it would be too bold for my tastes, but the flavors were excellent. Thanks for the recipe!

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