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  • Chicken Tikka Masala

    YIELD: 5 CUPS / 1.2 L MASALA (BEFORE ADDING CHICKEN)
    TOOLS: You’ll need a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan and a blender or immersion (stick) blender.
    VEGANIZE IT! Instead of chicken, you can use 24 to 28 ounces / 680 to 790 g of Baked Tofu, seitan, or tempeh and substitute Cashew Cream or coconut creamer for the half & half. You can even leave the cream out entirely, as the almonds should add all the richness you’ll need. If you choose to do so, the cook time for Step 4 should increase to 20 minutes, and you may need to add a little water if the sauce starts to dry out.

    This dish, which is ubiquitous on Indian restaurant menus, likely had origins outside of India. According to one story, a restaurateur in England created it by combining grilled chicken, tomatoes, cream, and spices. Some say its origin was in Glasgow or Birmingham, while others (including my cousins Rahul, Vikram, and Puja) insist the recipe comes from Newcastle, their childhood home. No matter how or where it came about, we’re all so glad it did.

    • 1 tablespoon /45 mL ghee or vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 large yellow or red onion, diced
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 pinch salt, divided
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and minced or grated
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
    • 4 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
    • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and chopped
    • 6 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 cup /240 mL boiling water
    • ¼ cup /25 g blanched sliced almonds, toasted
    • ¼ cup /60 mL half & half or heavy cream
    • 3 cups /420 g diced Tandoori Chicken
    • 2 teaspoons unsmoked paprika
    • Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan, for serving
    1. In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and turmeric and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown.
    2. Add the onion and the pinch of the salt to the sauté pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, until the onion is slightly browned. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
    3. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, the fresh chiles, the cardamom, the cinnamon, the brown sugar, the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, the black pepper, and the red chile powder to the sauté pan and bring the mixture to a boil.
    4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes break down and all the ingredients start to pull together except the oil, which will start to separate. Add the water and almonds and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    5. Transfer the mixture to a blender or use an immersion (stick) blender in the sauté pan and process until smooth.
    6. Return the sauté pan containing the mixture to medium heat and add the half & half. Fold in the chicken and paprika and cook for 5 minutes, until warmed through. Serve immediately with the brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan.
    7. *You can easily peel tomatoes with a serrated peeler. For more detailed instructions, see my notes.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.