Last weekend our friends Matt and Adrianne had us over for dinner. I had mentioned that I had been in the mood for some spicy Indian food and so Adrianne came across this recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala by Aarti Sequeira. We both love Aartie and her show Aartie Party on Food Network, so she was pretty sure this dinner would be a hit. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I have found a brand new love. It is super spicy, creamy, rich and impossible to stop eating. Serve over rice and along side some wonderful Naan or crusty bread is essential for sopping up all the sauce. You don't want any of that stuff to go to waste. I loved it so much I made it myself that same week- which I never do. This recipe will be in constant rotation in our household for sure. LOVE, LOVE!
When Adrianne made this, she used the two Serano Chili's, seeded and deveined and it was clear-your-sinuses spicy! We all loved it, but if you are sensitive to heat you may only want to use one instead of two. When I cooked the dish, my grocer didn't have Serano Chili's so I used two Jalepanos. This produced pretty much no heat at all, but still a lovely flavor. I was in the mood for heat so I added a bit of chili powder and a little cayenne pepper and that did the trick to kick it back up a notch.
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Chicken in Creamy Tomato Curry: Chicken Tikka Masala
recipe courtesy Aartie Sequeira
1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press or finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-size chunks
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch thumb ginger, peeled and minced
2 serrano pepper, minced (seeds removed if you don't want it spicy)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves, optional
1/2 cup heavy cream
Fresh cilantro leaves, minced
Serving suggestion: Cooked rice, warm naan bread or crusty bread.
For the marinade:
In large bowl, mix the yogurt, ginger, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Poke chicken with a fork, then add to marinade. Fold to cover and marinate at least 30 minutes, at most refrigerated overnight.
For the sauce:
When you're ready to make the curry, place a large skillet over medium heat, and add the butter and olive oil. When butter has melted, add the garlic, ginger, and serrano pepper. Saute until lightly browned around the edges.
Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato has darkened in colour, about 3 minutes. Add the paprika and garam masala, and saute for about 1 minute to draw out their flavours.
Add the tomatoes, salt, and water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. Take the pan off the fire, and allow the sauce to cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fire up your broiler, and cover your broiler pan in foil. Pull the chicken thigh chunks out of the marinade and place on the sheet. Place under the broiler, and cook about 7 minutes on each side, until charred and cooked through. Cook's Note: Don't worry if the chicken is still a little uncooked, but very charred on the outside; you can finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.
Pour sauce into a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Pour back into the pan, and bring back up to a boil. Add the chicken and fenugreek leaves, if using. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes.
Add cream and stir through. Garnish with minced fresh cilantro if you like, and serve over rice, with naan or a crusty piece of bread!