Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

This dish is a lot like Butter Chicken, but with a little less effort and ingredients.  I love spending time in the kitchen cooking and creating, but I also love whipping up a meal in under an hour that has the family begging for more.

Because some of the official ingredients for authentic Butter Chicken were originally hard to find here in Mexico, Tikka Masala is something I’ve been making for awhile now.  I don’t know about you, but it’s happened more than once that I get scared simply when I hear or read the name of something I’ve never heard of, especially if the dish in question originates from a land far-far-away. That’s what Tikka Masala did to me, even more than Butter Chicken.  I just instantly thought “I’ll never be able to find the ingredients for that”.

Well I was wrong.  The chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices, and the sauce is  simply a cream and tomato sauce with spices that you probably already have in the pantry.  The best part?  You can marinate the chicken in the morning or even the night before and toss it all together in under a half hour for dinner the next day.  Chicken is a meat that takes a long time to take on flavor, so the longer it marinates, the better.  This dish is also better the next day, as those flavors have just sat around in the fridge together, getting to know each other and becoming friendly.

If you want to spice this up, use more cayenne.  My husband and daughter like it a little spicier, but the spices as presented are just perfect for my son and I.

Take your family away to a far away land, right at your dinner table, in under an hour.  And let me know how you liked it!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup plan, sugar free yogurt
  • 1 TAB lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

MASALA:

  • 2 TAB butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • salt and pepper to taste, cilantro to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

For the marinade, combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk well.  Add chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

For the Masala, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and jalapeno and saute for one minute until flavors release.  Add spices, tomato sauce, and whipping cream.  Simmer on low until sauce thickens about 20 minutes.

As the Masala is simmering, heat a large skillet with a bit of cooking oil.  Cook reserved chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes a batch.  Add chicken to sauce and toss well.  Garnish with cilantro.

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