Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan

Since we had self-quarantined ourselves in our apartment a few weeks ago, we stopped ordering restaurant deliveries or pick-ups. For the first couple of weeks, it was super fun to try all the recipes I’ve been putting for later, or cook my childhood favorite dishes I haven’t tasted for years. But on a third week, I was done with Eastern European recipes. I started craving Indian food so much, I was ready to break my quarantine and go to any Indian restaurant even just to stare at their closed doors. That was, of course, silly, and since I’m a professional cook, I went to deal with my problems in the kitchen. That’s how these two recipes were born – out of boredom and huge hankering for Indian food.

Making homemade Garlic Naan and Chicken Tikka Masala is not hard at all, but it requires quite a bit of time and certain spices in the pantry. I conveniently had these Chicken Masala blend, and I don’t even know where and when I got it, lol. But if you have fresh garlic, ginger, Garam masala, and some other basic dried spices, you’ll be fine. As for the Naan, give yourself about 2 hours to make it. Don’t be scared. You’ll have only 30 minutes of active time, and the rest is just for the dough to rise and rest. Here is the recipe for the Garlic Naan. So get ready, here we go!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • For the Marinade:
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tights cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cups whole milk plain yogurt, not Greek-style
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Masala blend, or 1 teaspoon of ground garam masala mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee, can be substituted with 1 tablespoon of butter plus one tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon of Chicken Masala spice, or 1 teaspoon of ground garam masala mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 green cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cane sugar, optional
  • a small bunch of cilantro, for serving

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium bowl. Mix well to cover the chicken. Cover with a lid or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or better overnight. When you are ready to cook the chicken, make sure to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking
  2. Melt half of the ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil, in a large, heavy-bottom pan. A dutch oven works great for this. Fry chicken pieces over a medium-high heat until slightly brown on all sides. Work in batches and make sure not to crowd the pan. Set the fired chicken pieces aside.
  3. Add the remaining ghee to the same pan and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook stirring for one more minute. Then add the dried spices; continue cooking for 30 seconds. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Lover the heat to medium-low continue simmering uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and becomes deep brown color. deep
  4. Stir in the heavy cream and sugar, if desired. Add the chicken and cook for 10 more minutes over medium-low heat. Season with salt.
  5. Serve the chicken with a generous portion of white or brown rice, and a couple of freshly made Garlic Naans. Top with fresh cilantro right before serving.

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