Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe isn’t nearly as complicated as I imagined it would be, and it’s worth it! I had some big chicken breasts, so they took a lot more time than I was expecting under the broiler, but otherwise, it came together pretty quickly. I actually doubled it, and I was so glad, since we had great leftovers for a few days after. I got it out of The Best International Recipe, and I served with with homemade naan bread–I’ll post that great recipe soon!

Chicken Tikka Masala
For Chicken: 
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. table salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (5-6 oz. each)
1 c. plain yogurt (see note)
2 T. vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 T. grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce:
3 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (2 t.)
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chili, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note)
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. garam masala
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. table salt
2/3 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Note: This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile.

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm. (The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken.)

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

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