* veg option included!
1 package of chicken tenders, cubed (substitute extra firm tofu or paneer for veg.)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons garam masala
0.5 teaspoon ground coriander
0.5 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 teaspoons tandoori masala
0.25 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
0.5 stick of unsalted, sweet cream butter (or ghee, if available)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
2 medium cans of tomato sauce
1 cup of half and half
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder (opt.)
listening to: punjabi mc – mundian to bach ke
indian food. i often jest with what i’m about to say, but i firmly believe i was indian in a past life. the two times i’ve had the privilege of visiting this amazing country, i felt something ineffable seep into my bones, almost like a reunion with a long-lost friend.
of course, the cuisine is one of the primary reasons i feel hearkened to this unique culture. whenever i feel the urge to eat comfort food, most of the time i’m jonesing for a dish seasoned with cumin and garam masala.
the requisite favorite is the dish in this recipe. every time we go to an indian restaurant (and, believe me, we’ve been to quite a few), my husband orders chicken tikka masala. i’ve witnessed individuals loathe to try something “foreign” fall in love with this dish. interestingly enough, i also heard an urban legend that this dish is not, in fact, indian. a british chef may have had the privilege of discovering this much beloved recipe, and, if so, kudos to him/her. regardless of its origin, the pull of chicken tikka masala cannot be ignored.
i begin by preheating the oven to 450.
in a large bowl, i toss in the cubed pieces of chicken/tofu/paneer along with 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 1 tablespoon of dried fenugreek leaves, 2 teaspoons of tandoori masala powder, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 0.5 tablespoon of freshly minced ginger. yes, you could use the powdered kind (idiot). i throw this altogether, along with a sprinkling of salt and 0.25 cup of lemon juice. set it aside until the oven is finished preheating.
in a large pot set on medium low heat, i heat 0.5 stick of butter or ghee along with the remaining tablespoon of canola oil. once the butter has melted, i throw in the cumin seeds and immediately place a lid on top of the pot. the cumin seeds will pop in the butter and release an amazing scent. after the popping dies down, throw in 2 cloves of minced garlic, the remaining 0.5 tablespoon of ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of tandoori masala, 0.5 teaspoon ground coriander, 0.5 teaspoon ground cardamom. toss it altogether until the garlic and ginger lose a bit of their bite. this usually takes a few minutes.
now, add both cans of tomato sauce to the pot, along with 1 tablespoon of dried fenugreek leaves. bring this mixture to a low boil before adding 1 tablespoon of honey or agave syrup.
once the oven is done preheating, prepare the chicken/tofu/paneer on a greased baking sheet. spread it into an even layer, and bake for 20 minutes. the chicken/tofu/paneer should have a nice red color to it, at this point.
when the chicken (etc.) is removed from the oven, add it to the tomato sauce mixture on the stove. stir it altogether before pouring in 1 cup of half and half. now, season for salt, and feel free to add chili powder, if you’d like the dish to be a bit spicy.
let the chicken tikka masala simmer on low for at least 20 minutes before serving over basmati rice.
i especially love this dish served with onion chutney and raita.
i’m pretty certain this is going to be a big hit with your friends/family. it sure has been the case with mine. please don’t be daunted by the spices. you can definitely handle it, and your home is going to smell AMAZING. if you let uncertainty affect ability, you’re robbing yourself and others of a fabulous treat (and i have no pity for you, whatsoever).