Sunday, 26 December 2010

Chicken tikka massala!! A long post for not so complicated dish!

Chicken Tikka Masala on a bed of Basmati rice with Saffron and lemon
Ok..DO NOT FREAK OUT.. do not be intimidated by the number of spices. It’s Indian food, it has many, but it’s rewarding!

Besides, if you cook Indian, Srilankan, Bangladeshi and Pakistani or love this type of food, you should have these spices lined up in your kitchen!

The trick: have them all lined up in front of you so you get your recipe right.

Back to the chicken tikka masala recipe, this is BY FAR my favorite Indian  curry dish! It has all what I need to lift my mood up with. Just like chocolate will do.

In India, looks like each and every family has a special Garam Masala mix, cooks recipes their own way. Each part of the country has more (or less) ingredients to add in the same recipe..
From what I understood, the more you drive up north, the more the dishes get spicier. The more you go down towards Kerala, the more it gets coconut-ty!

I Find it outrageous that Morocco does not have many Indian restaurants although we have regions where the same spices are used for cooking, Ras El hanout can replace Garam Masala, maybe Batbout can replace naan…

I think it needs some PR/Marketing over there!

Ingredients 
Serves4 to 6 

For the chicken marinade
- 800g of boneless chicken cut in 4 cm cubes
- ¼ cup of plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp of minced Ginger  
- 1 tbsp of crushed Garlic
- ¼ tsp. of black Pepper
- ¼ tsp. of Red Chilli Powder
- ¼ tsp. of Turmeric Powder  
- 3 tbsp. of Lemon Juice  
- 1 tbsp of Tandoori powder or good Garam Masala
- 4 tbsp. of Vegetable Oil
    For the sauce
    - 500g of chopped tomatoes with their juice
    - 1 red onion; chopped (medium size)
    - 1 tsp of chopped hot chili
    - 3 to 4 cloves
    - ½ tsp of mace
    - 8 Green Cardamoms  
    - 1 heaped tbsp. of freshly chopped or julienned ginger
    - 1 tbsp of Fenugreek (optional)
    - 1 cinnamon stick
    - 2 tbsp of tomato paste
    - 4 gloves of garlic (into paste or chopped)  
    - 1 tbsp of Red Chilli Powder or paprika
    - Salt and pepper to taste
    - 3 tbsp. of Butter
    - 2/3 cup of Cream or thick Greek yogurt
    - 1 tsp of sugar to taste (to correct the tomatoes acidity)
    - 3 tbsp of chopped coriander to garnish

      Method

      Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the chicken breast cut into 4 cm (or so) cubes. Let this beauty marinate overnight in the refrigerator, chicken will come out flavorful, tender and moist. SO yes it’s an important step towards yummy dish.

      Preheat oven to 180ºC. Bake the chicken for 10 minutes in a bit of butter or oil; it’s a kind of searing. Drain excess marinade, toss it and bake for another couple of minutes.

      In the meantime, get the sauce started. Sautee the onions, add in the spices (except the garam masala and ginger). Give it few minutes and add it the tomato ingredients, approximately 2 cups of water. Salt to taste.

      Cook over low heat until reduced to a thick sauce, add in the Garam masala. Give it 2 pulses in a food processor. Put it back into the sauce pan and add cream + butter (I don’t add butter but this is what people usually do). Stir. If the sauce tastes sour, add sugar to taste (which happens all the time). Add the chicken cubes, chopped coriander, ginger juliennes, stir and serve with Rice or any yummy Indian bread such as naan.



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