Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Oh where do I start about this dish–the only dish my non-desi friends know to be Indian. It pains every time I have to point out that Indian food and Pakistani food are really one and the same. The flavors running through, the spices lighting up the taste buds or really burning them up share a similar journey. Before I turn this into a history lesson about the partition of 1947, let’s focus our gaze back to this beautiful bowl of rich, saucy Chicken Tikka Masala. This along with my Seekh Kebab and Tandoori Chicken should have a permanent place in your arsenal of desi food recipes!

Chicken Tikka Masala

It took me a few tries to nail down this recipe. I decided that I did not want to use canned tomato puree, so I sliced up some juicy, fat tomatoes (along with my finger), and threw them in the oven with the marinated chicken at 425 degrees F. Roasting adds that touch of smokiness and wrinkles the tomatoes to a beautiful charred-around-the-edges look. Sometimes I even turn on the broiler because I love those black blisters on the chicken and tomatoes. So, if you feel me on this, just do it! Like Nike. Okay, maybe not. Do it at a slower pace, because baby it’s worth it. Give it to it, it’s worth it. I’m really sorry. I got some major wisdom tooth extraction done and clearly it wasn’t a good idea. So, I’ll just leave this recipe here for you guys and go search for it.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala
 
This Chicken Tikka Masala will make you forget the Pakistani/Indian restaurants. Learn how to make this with me!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Pakistani/Indian
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • Marinade for chicken:
  • 1½ tsp red chilli powder such as cayenne
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp full fat yogurt (Indian-style such as Gopi or a plain greek yogurt)
  • cinnamon (just a pinch)
  • turmeric (just a pinch)
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • Masala:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 5 whole green cardamom pods (lightly crushed)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½of a green chilli
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder (cayenne)
  • 6 tomatoes on the vine (roasted in the oven)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash and pat dry the the chicken thighs and cut them up in small to medium chunks.
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and rub into the chicken pieces really well.
  3. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 mins to an hour in the fridge.
  4. While the chicken is in the fridge, slice up tomatoes in circles and lay them on baking sheet lined with foil.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Next, grab some metal skewers and skewer the chicken pieces through them. Place the skewers on another pan lined with foil.
  7. Put both the pans in the oven preheated at 425 degree F, and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  8. *Prepare the masala 10 minutes before the chicken and tomatoes are done*
  9. To prepare the masala, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  10. Add the whole cloves and cardamom pods and stir for about 30 seconds.
  11. Throw in the chopped onion and green chilli and continue to sautee for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft.
  12. Next, add in cumin, coriander and red chilli powder and stir for a minute.
  13. Add in 2 heaping spoonfuls of tomato paste and stir for another minutes until incorporated.
  14. At this point, add in the roasted tomatoes and stir really well.
  15. Pour in one cup of water.
  16. Dump the masala in a blender and puree until smooth.
  17. Now pour it back into the saucepan over medium heat.
  18. Add in the cooked chicken pieces and stir.
  19. Add salt to taste.
  20. Next, add heavy cream and stir.
  21. For the actual aroma of this dish, add in the fenugreek leaves.
  22. Next, drizzle honey to give it that touch of sweetness this dish needs.
  23. Finally taste for salt and serve with naan or pita bread.
 

4 comments

  1. no offense but Indian and Pakistani food are NOT even remotely one and the same thing; they have similarities yes, and some communities in Pakistan that are of Indian origin have recipes that are the same as their Indian counterparts. However, calling indian and pakistani food ‘the same’ is to discard most of Indian and Pakistani heritage. As an example, I am a half Punjabi half Pakhtun and not a single common dish that we make at home (yes right from the gobi gosht to chapli kabab) is Indian. As an example, there is no such thing as a ‘tikka masala’ in Pakistani cuisine; or butter chicken etc. We do have tikka which is just barbecued meat.

    1. You are right, they have different tastes. They are not same and as long as I and you know, we’re good. Also, I live in the states and it’s a very popular dish that people like, although personally i’m not a huge fan.

    2. Thanks Maria. I take food very seriously myself and understand the nuances between Pakistani and Indian food better than most people. The flavor profile is different although not as different as night and day. Chicken Tikka Masala is neither Pakistani or Indian, but a knock off of the flavors that they serve here in the US. It is the most popular item on the menu here because it is “American tastebud friendly.” I hope this clarifies.

  2. lets also note that india and pakistan used to be a united civilization so our history of food and spices do intertwine but even saying that india or pakistan has the same cuisine east to west does not work . im from goa and u cannot find some of the dishes we make anywhere else in india example vindaloo which to this day is always mispronounced and not made anything like what it should be in the restaurants here in north america but i appreciate the effort.
    lets just enjoy the food indian or pakistani i like to think we are one in the same 🙂

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