Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan

I <3 Indian Food...and over the years I've converted Chris, too!  Our favorite Indian Restaurant ever is Ambar India in Clifton.  My cousins Jim and Kat say that it's the best they've had too...it pleases even foodie New Yorkers!  I think that Ambar and Wok Inn Express (my Aunt's restaurant in St. Benard) are the 2 things we miss most about living in Clifton.  While this wasn't quite Ambar, I thought it was quite good!  It took way more effort than I'd like and so I'd rather drive 25 mins to go to Ambar or order from another Indian restaurant in a fix but it was the pride in knowing that I COULD make Indian food that made it worth it to me.

Chris' favorite Indian dish is Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken).  Sometimes, restaurants don't serve that dish and they suggest Chicken Tikka Masala instead.  The two seem to be very similar except that Chicken Makhani is sweeter and at Ambar has nuts and raisins (not sure if this is universal?).  So, I took the liberty to modify this recipe to make it closer to Makhani vs.Tikka Masala...call it a hybrid if you will.  That's the beauty of cooking is sometimes you just find yourself inspired to give a recipe your own touch :).

As a side note, I was so excited that this recipe used ground cardamom.  After having invested in this interesting spice to make Finn Nisu Bread (or Misua as my in-laws know it as), it's just been sitting in my spice cabinet waiting to be used again.  Regarding the Garam Masala...it's apparently a very common sweet/savory spice that's used in Indian food.  Since I didn't want to invest in yet ANOTHER spice not knowing if I'd ever use it again, I decided to Google for substitutes.  I also considered knocking on our neighbor's door to see if I could "borrow a tsp of spice" (they're both Indian on either side...and it's like borrowing a cup of sugar lol!).

Now, it may not be the prettiest  looking food but I assure you it was tasty.  (Yeah, just ignore the bite taken out of my naan...Chris suggested I take a photo for my blog AFTER I started eating!  I'm surprised  more wasn't gone as the aroma during cooking was devine!).  Since our grill is covered for the winter, I made the naan on an open George Foreman and then kept it warm in the oven since I could only make 2 at a time.  Thank goodness I halved the naan recipe...but even then there was so much excess!  At least I don't have to ration it like at Ambar where each piece of  plain naan is like $2.50.  There was plenty to go around and this naan had GARLIC (an upcharge at Ambar)!  Nothing like sopping up the curry sauce with some fresh naan...mmm!




















Chicken Tikka Masala
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Marinade
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (omitted)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into large cubes
Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño chili, minced (used 2 oz canned diced jalepenos; adjust heat to your preferences)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (Googled for a substitute and used 1/4 tsp ground cumin + 1/4 tsp ground coriander + 1/6 tsp ground pepper + 1/6 tsp ground cardamom + 1/6 tsp all spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Combine everything on the marinade list, including the chicken. Marinate in a plastic Ziploc gallon bag in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is better.)
  2. If you have a gas grill or grill pan, grill the chicken until slightly undercooked. If you have a charcoal grill, thread the chicken onto skewers first. (Or, use a skillet like I did...)
  3. Set the lightly grilled chicken aside on a plate. Melt the butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat then add the flour. Add the garlic and jalapeño, and stir for a minute. Stir in the seasonings, sugar, and salt. Add the tomato sauce, and stir for one minute. Add the half-and-half, peanuts, and raisins, and simmer until the sauce thickens.
  4. Add the chicken to the sauce (remove it from the skewers if you did this) and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Serve with basmati rice and naan.
Source: modified from What's for Dinner, as seen on A Taste of Home Cooking

Naan
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Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook Time: 7 Min
Ready In: 3 Hrs
Yields: 14 Pieces

Ingredients
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside in a warm place (used warm oven) to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.  Store cooked naan in a warm oven while cooking the rest, if desired.
Source: All Recipes

3 comments:

Lisa said...

This was a great recipe! I made tonight and was very pleased...thanks for the great recipe. I used jalepeno sauce (instead of minced jalapeno); added some curry powder and extra all spice; and added extra cilatron instead of corriander (I didn't have any). Thanks again!! I look forward to trying more recipes. :)

Christine said...

Hi Lisa! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe and thank you for commenting. This is by far my favorite Tikka Masala/Chicken Makhani recipe of 3 that I've tried so far. As you can tell from my garam masala substitution, I often substitute ingredients (especially spices) as well. A lot of times you can't even tell the difference so glad it worked out for you!

Krista Montalvo said...

My girlfriend group meets twice a month & we get dinner ready together by each one bringing an ingredient while our kids play around us! We made your naan on the grill - so yummy! I linked back to your blog. We also made a crockpot chicken makhani that was excellent. Come check out our recipe!!
www.amarmielife.com