Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

You can't forget dinner even as you're rushing around prepping for the holidays.  Here's a fairly simple dish that's packed with flavor.  Visit your market and buy the spices in bulk.  My bet is on you loving this recipe so set aside enough in jars or tins to make again.  (And you should always have cumin and turmeric on hand anyway, in my humble opinion.)

Chickeb Tikka Masala
Makes four generous servings.

8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (I used plain old bone-in, skin-on thighs when I made it.)
2 garlic cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 fresh hot red chili, seeded
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided use.
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 cups cream (half and half and milk work well also)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Place the chicken in a shallow dish in a single layer.  Puree the garlic, ginger, lime juice, chili, cilantro and 1 tablespoon oil in a food processor.  Spread over the chicken and cover.  Refrigerate for 2-8 hours.

Heat two tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.  Add the diced onion and cook for 4 minutes; do not let onion brown.  Stir in the turmeric and cumin and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat.

In a separate saute pan, heat the remaining two tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and cook, in batches, for 2-3 minutes on each side until just barely browned.  Repeat until all chicken has been browned.

Pour pan drippings into onion mixture.  Add reserved marinade as well.  Stir in the cream/milk, tomato paste and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over high heat stirring often.

Pour sauce into baking dish.  Nestle chicken thighs in sauce and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with steamed rice and a sprinkle of cilantro to garnish.

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