I have been having fun exploring some different spice blends and foods from around the world. One thing I have always wanted to make was chicken tikka masala. I first really heard about it when Jamie Oliver was cooking it over a open campfire on one of his shows. It just looked so good and sounded like an Indian food I could handle. Indian food is well known for it's spice and curries. I like having curry powder for some of my dishes, it's great in butternut squash soup and adds that extra something something! Some other curries I have tried in the past really hurt my stomach and were super spicy.
This dish seemed like a great balance of spice, that is why I just had to try it. In a search for the ingredients most of them were super easy to find, the one that was actually kind of annoying to find was the actual spice blend "garam masala". I went down the ethnic isle in Superstore thinking it would for sure be down there. Nope I found every other masala's but not garam. I even talked to someone and they said you really didn't want to use the wrong spice blend for it. Somewhat annoyed I thought maybe check the isle that had just regular spices, and guess what there it was beside the cinnamon.
Thank goodness for Presidents Choice Black Label, they seem to have all the random spices and ingredients I need for certain dishes. Garam Masala is a spice blend of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves. Some even have mustard seeds, chili pepper flakes, and turmeric in them. It is a nice fragrant blend of various spices that add levels of flavour to your dish.
This dish was actually pretty simple to make, and doesn't take too long to make. Just remember to marinate the chicken. In the original recipe it states to marinate the chicken for at least one hour. I have a tendency to forget unless I do it first thing in the morning. So for me it always helps when you have a meat to marinate to do it first thing in the morning and allow all those flavours to really set in throughout the day.
A good way you can lighten up the recipe as well is to use half and half verses the heavy cream. A lot of curries and Indian foods are heavy with butter and cream, why do you think they taste so dang good... hello there is a reason why it is called BUTTER chicken, but man that stuff is good.
I got this recipe from Savory Tooth its a great blog with some awesome recipes. So I thank her for the easy to follow recipe, that I was able to adapt and try.
Chicken Tikka Masala
2 to 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into cubs
1 Cup of full fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of garam masala spice blend
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (or the bottled lemon juice)
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
15 ounces of tomato sauce, plain with no spices in it
2 cups of half and half, or heavy whipping cream
1 jalapeno, cut in half, seeded and diced into small pieces
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of salted butter
4 teaspoons of garam masala spice blend
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of salt
In a large bowl combine the chicken and all the ingredients for the marinade. Mix well and make sure every piece of chicken is evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
In a large 3 quart pan heat up 1 tablespoon of butter on medium high heat, add the chicken and marinade to the heated pan. Using a wooden spoon or spatula cook the chicken till it is almost all cooked.
Once chicken is mostly cooked reduce the heat to a medium. Add butter, diced jalapenos and minced garlic to the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is slightly brown.
Add all the rest of the ingredients, stir until all incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to a medium low. Stirring occasionally, simmer the sauce for 20 minutes to thicken it up.
Serve with rice or naan bread heated up and cut into pieces. You can also garnish with more Greek yogurt and some cilantro or parsley.
I had to crop the last picture because I will warn you, while cooking the chicken tikka masala it goes everywhere! I repeat EVERYWHERE! I was cleaning sauce off of the walls, floor, my spice rack, it just bubbles pretty good. In the end it is worth it and my little guy Colton kept saying "More chicken sauce please mom" he actually pounded it back.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, get out there and explore the flavours of the world in your own kitchen.
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