Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chicken tikka masala

It’s the perfect summer day—hot, breezy, blue sky. It’s the way I remember my childhood summer days—not the airless, humid summer days that we have here so often now. Maybe time is merciful and my memories are better than reality.

Because it’s the quintessential summer day I’m in the mood for Indian food. I’m cooking dinner for a friend’s birthday tomorrow night and experimenting with variations on a recipe for chicken tikka masala. I’ve taken three different recipes and done a mix-and-match to come up with this version. The marinade is ready for the chicken tomorrow. Today I made the sauce and I’ll simmer the grilled chicken in it before serving. I’ve cooked other versions before and it has always turned out well. I’m still not sure how this one will turn out when it’s all assembled tomorrow but I tasted the sauce and it’s really, really good.

Chicken Tikka Masala

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked Basmati rice

For marinade, combine all ingredients except chicken and rice. Pour marinade over chicken and refrigerate for one hour. Grill or broil chicken 5-7 minutes per side. It should have slightly blackened edges. Discard marinade.

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 14-oz can petite-cut tomatoes with jalapenos
1 cup half and half
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic for one minute, then stir in cumin, turmeric, and garam masala and sauté for one minute. Stir in canned tomatoes and half and half. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

Add grilled chicken to sauce (whole pieces or cut into chunks if desired) and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice.

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