CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
A tomato sauce spiced with garam masala, ginger, and bright cilantro gives this Indian dish authentic flavor with minimal fuss.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: We wanted to re-create the classic Indian dish chicken tikka masala. To develop an approachable method for producing moist, tender chunks of chicken in a rich, warmly spiced tomato sauce, we began by coating the chicken in a yogurt mixture seasoned with garlic and ginger. Baking the chicken breasts was quick and worked well, but the additional char we achieved with the broiler was better and required no extra effort. Meanwhile, a traditional combination of garam masala, fresh ginger, and cilantro gave our masala sauce an authentic Indian taste. This dish tastes best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted; do not use nonfat yogurt. Serve with rice. See the sidebar that follows the recipe.
You will need to prepare CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garam masala
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded if necessary
½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1½ teaspoons tomato paste
1½ teaspoons garam masala
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine salt, garam masala, and cayenne in bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season thoroughly with spice mixture. Place chicken on plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Whisk yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger together in medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
2. FOR THE SAUCE: Process tomatoes and their juice in food processor until smooth, about 15 seconds. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in serrano, tomato paste, garam masala, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in processed tomatoes, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Off heat, stir in yogurt; cover to keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set wire rack in aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on prepared wire rack. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until lightly charred in spots and chicken registers 160 degrees, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
4. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Stir chicken pieces into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, season with salt to taste, and serve.