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Monday, March 1, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala


I love Indian food. Strangely enough I’ve never actually had it at a restaurant though. I actually started cooking Indian food when I got the Jamie Oliver cookbook “The Ministry of Food” from my mom and I’ve been hooked ever since. While you can always find bottled sauces in the supermarket it is so incredibly easy to make them at home and so worth it, especially if you want to amp up the spices like me.


First of all, garlic and lots of of it.


Next up, chillies. I used jalapenos and red chillies since that is all that they sell at my supermarket. I like heat so I always leave in the seeds.


Didn’t I do a good job prettying up the spices for my photo? From left to right: the chillies, cumin, paprika, garam masala, black mustard seeds, cayenne pepper and garlic.


I decided to use boneless, skinless chicken strips to make my life easier. I also chucked in a good amount of Greek yogurt although regular yogurt will also do.


After it was all mixed up together I put it in the fridge for half an hour to marinade.


While that was in the fridge I started preparing the sauce. I melted some butter and sautéed some sliced onions on low heat along with black and yellow mustard seeds. I love black mustard seeds and hoard my little stash since my Mom sent them to me since I was having a hard time finding them here.


For the sauce I also ground up some soy nuts. The original recipe called for cashews but given The Husband’s nut allergies I end up using soy nuts for pretty much everything. In case you’re wondering soy nuts are roasted soy beans, they actually taste pretty nutty though.


You will see that there is chicken broth in the pan. This is because I was cooking two things at the same time and poured the chicken broth in the wrong place. Sometimes my own brilliance astounds even me. It is a very good thing that I wasn’t making dessert at the same time or else things could have turned out rather ugly. Also in the pan are the ground up soy nuts and some tomato puree.


I let that bubble away on the stove for a bit.


While that was going on I cooked my marinated chicken in a pan. I basically just dumped everything in, including all the yogurt.


Here it is all cooked. It’s not the most photogenic thing ever but my kitchen smelled amazing at this point. It drives The Husband nuts when I cook without turning on the kitchen fan but one’s sense of smell is so helpful for knowing if something is cooked or if it needs more seasonings etc.


After the sauce had reduced a bit I added a generous splash of heavy cream.


Then the chicken.


And some chopped cilantro.


All done.


This was so good. I loved the mix of the spices and the heat from the chillies balanced with the smoothness of the creamy tomato sauce. I usually make coconut milk based curries but this recipe was amazing. Definitely a repeat.

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