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Chicken Tikka Masala

As we learned with the pulled pork, I like to break the rules when I cook. Last night I made chicken tikka masala, this dish has (apparently) unknown origins, with the most likely suspects being India or Scotland?!?!? After a bit of research, the only common ingredient in all the varieties of recipes is chicken. You may want to brace yourself, mine has that too but it also has a LOT of yogurt.

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I can’t explain how much I love this sauce and just about any type of curry. It probably dates back to my childhood as I grew up eating a lot of curries. My mum would do curry night where she would make at least four different kinds. She would do a tikka, madras, vindaloo, and korma…some with meat and some vegetarian. My parents are British and British people love their curries!

I started with some organic chicken as I am trying to be more conscious in my choices when I do eat meat. I also decided to try out the Tilda brand basmati rice because the package looked fancy and it promised great things. If you haven’t tried basmati rice then you haven’t really lived yet.

I can remember in the early days of my relationship with The Hubby. There I was trying to explain to him the awesome qualities of basmati rice and I kid you not the man looked at me and said: “Rice is rice”. After I picked my jaw off the floor and seriously reconsidered our relationship, I just told him to trust me. Suffice it to say that after he tried it, he took back his previous comment and now will ONLY eat basmati unless I am making my mushroom risotto.

Tikka Masala

I made sure to start cooking the rice first. I love my old rice cooker, but I can’t wait until my new Instant Pot gets here (I got the Lux 6qt one) and then I will try doing the rice in that.

***SO EXCITING***.

I have been pining away for one of these bad boys for awhile! Anyway back to the rice, I go with a standard 2:1 ratio, so 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. Some people say to rinse the basmati rice, but hey I’m a rebel and I haven’t has any issues not rinsing so I skip that step. Don’t forget to add in some salt and butter.

Tikka Masala

Set that to cook and onto the chicken…as I mentioned I chose organic and a smaller portion that most people would. I made 4 servings with just 2 chicken breasts and there is more than enough sauce to double the chicken if you prefer. I cut it all up into little cubes, the size is really up to you. Personally, I like to cut mine a bit smaller, this way there are bite-sized pieces of chicken throughout the sauce.

Tikka Masala

***For the love of (whatever matters most to you) line your pan with aluminum foil***

If you skip this step you will hate me, hate yourself and hate anyone that crosses your path. By skipping this step you ensure that you will have to spend hours trying to clean the pan after you are done cooking it. So it is best to line the pan now and save everyone the grief later on. After the pan is dutifully lined then add in half the tikka paste and most (or all) of the yogurt and stir it up.

Tikka Masala

You can then set this aside in the fridge and move on to the other half of the sauce. You can also make this in the morning or even the night before and leave it to marinate in the fridge…I wasn’t that well organized so I didn’t…don’t judge. Chop up the onion into little pieces and then take about an inch of ginger, peel it and then grate it up.

Tikka Masala

Add all those aromatics lovelies to the pan along with some garlic and vegetable oil and cook it on medium-high for about 4-5 minutes or until the onions are tender and clear. Don’t forget to give it a few stirs, we don’t want any of it burning or sticking to the pan. Then it is time to add in the last 3 tablespoons of the tikka paste. Give it a few minutes to heat up and then add in one cup of the water and the tomato paste. Turn the heat down to a simmer and leave it for about 10-15 minutes, and again, don’t forget to stir. Then it is time to add in the butter and a little lemon juice.

Tikka Masala

Make sure you, keep an eye on the butter and when it is melted, turn off the heat. Then you will need to go and get the chicken in the yogurt/tikka mixture from the fridge. Carefully pour the hot part of the sauce into the chicken and stir it all together. Now is where things start to stray from the norm. I like to cook mine under the broiler. The reason I do this is that I love the depth of flavour that I get from the little bits of charring that occur. I am lucky enough to have a gas oven so the broiler is no joke. I move the top rack up just under the broiler and pop it in for 6 minutes.

After the timer goes off I give it a bit of a stir to mix in any of the charred bits and to move everything around. Then back in for 6 minutes….stir….6 more minutes…stir…6 more minutes. At this point, after a total of 24 minutes under the broiler it should be done. But I usually fish out the biggest piece and cut it in half just to make sure it is all cooked…because you don’t mess around with chicken.

The rice should be finished by now, lucky for me, my rice cooker has a handy “keep warm” function. So grab your favourite bowl and get ready to eat! On my recent trip to see my sister and nephew, we took a trip to her favourite potter. While I was there I scored this beautiful birch bark style bowl.

*** swoon ***

Tikka Masala

This is my favourite part, grab a big spoon, set down a nice layer of beautiful basmati rice and then add a nice helping of that tasty tikka masala. Here it is…in my new bowl. Now I need to go eat.

Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients

For the Marinade (or sauce part 1)

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 700g balkan yogurt (the big tub)
  • 3 tbsp tikka curry paste (I like Patak’s…do NOT get Tikka Masala paste or pre made sauce)

For the Rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Pinch of salt (I like Himalayan salt)

For the Sauce (part 2)

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1″ of ginger peeled and grated
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of water
  • Squeeze of lemon

Instructions

  1. Line you pan in aluminum foil (Do not skip this step or you will hate me, you and everyone else after as you try and clean your dish)
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into 1″ cubes and put them in the lined pan (not joking about this people)
  3. Pour most or all of the yogurt over the chicken.
  4. Add 3 tbsp (I do heaping tbsp) of tikka paste and mix it all up
  5. Put it in the fridge to chill
  6. Put the rice, 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp of butter and a pinch of salt into the rice cooker and set it to cook.
  7. In a pan heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and add in the grated ginger and chopped onion and garlic over medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes until onion is tender and clear.
  8. Mix in the last 3 tbsps of tikka paste and cook for a few minutes.
  9. Add in 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp of tomato paste. Mix and cook on low for 15 minutes, stirring as necessary.
  10. Turn off the heat and get the chicken out of the fridge.
  11. Mix the sauce into the chicken and yogurt/tikka paste mixture.
  12. Move the top rack to the top or second position (depending on the height of your pan) and turn on the broiler.
  13. Put the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes.
  14. Once the times is done, carefully pull out the top rack and stir the tikka. Then reset the timer for 6 more minutes.
  15. Repeat step 14.
  16. Repeat step 14.
  17. Find the largest piece of chicken and cut in half to make sure it is cooked through. If it isn’t cooked enough then repeat step 14 one more time. If it is cooked through then get a bowl. Set down a base layer of lovely basmati rice and then heap on the tikka masala!

Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit down, turn on some Netflix and enjoy some delicious chicken tikka masala…

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