Chicken Tikka Masala
This Indian-inspired dish is universally loved. It's mild yet flavorful and warm - a lot like butter chicken. Details of the dish's origins are murky; however, it likely originated in Great Britain where it was created by a Bangladeshi, Indian, or Pakistani chef.
Chicken Tikka Masala
1 1/2 lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (3-4 Breast Halves Total)
1/4 C. Plain Whole-Milk Greek-Style Yogurt
2 Tbsp. Peanut or Grapeseed Oil (or Other High Smoke Point Oil)
2 tsp. Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice
1 Large Clove Garlic, Minced
2 Tbsp. Tikka Masala Blend
1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Grated or Finely Minced)
4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (1/2 Stick)
1 Large White Onion (Finely Chopped)
1 1/2 C. Canned Tomato Purée
3/4 C. Water
1/2 C. Heavy Cream or Half and Half
1-1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper, Coarse Ground
1/2 C. Fresh Cilantro (Chopped) + Extra for Garnish
For the Chicken:
For the Sauce:
Marinate the Chicken Breasts:
Poke the chicken breasts all over on both sides with a fork so they can soak up the marinade. Arrange the chicken breasts on a large sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper so that they are not touching one another, then cover with a second large sheet of plastic wrap (or waxed paper). Using the smooth side of a meat mallet or a rolling pin, beat the chicken until the breasts are an even 1/2" to 3/4" thick.
In a shallow dish, whisk together the whole-milk Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp. of the grapeseed or peanut oil, fresh lime or lemon juice, and garlic. Add the pounded chicken to the dish, and lightly toss or rub the marinade so that the meat is thoroughly coated. Set aside.
Make the Sauce:
In a small bowl, toss together the Tikka Masala Blend and grated fresh ginger. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a heavy, wide pot, Dutch oven or deep sauté pan. Add the chopped onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light brown and caramelized, about 6 – 8 min. Take care to stir often and not over-brown.
Reduce the heat to medium add the spice and ginger mixture to the onions, stirring to coat the onion and to toast the spices a little. Add the tomato purée, water, heavy cream, and salt, and bring the sauce to a boil. As soon as the mixture boils, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened a little bit.
Cook the Marinated Chicken (While the Sauce Simmers):
Heat a large (11" or 12″) heavy skillet over medium-high heat, adding the remaining 1 Tbsp. of peanut or grapeseed oil. Working in batches, cook the chicken breasts, turning them a few times to brown all sides, and adjusting the heat if the chicken sticks or browns too quickly. Cook chicken until just cooked through and well-browned all over, only 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Allow chicken to cool slightly on the cutting board before handling.
Cut cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized (1" to 1 1/2″) pieces. Add the pieces of chopped chicken to the simmering tomato cream sauce, continuing to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, to coat the chicken with sauce and heat it thoroughly. Remove the pan from the stove, stir in the ground black pepper and chopped fresh cilantro. Season with kosher salt to taste.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and garnish with optional cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately with naan, and/or if desired, serve on a bed of Basmati Rice.
Make ahead: The spiced tomato cream sauce can be prepared ahead, then cooled, covered and refrigerated, in an airtight container, up to 3 days.