It’s been a while since I posted.
The thing is… the rest of life comes first before this blog. Yes, I love it. Yes, I’m going to continue it.
But REAL life… taking time to read God’s Word, playing with my kids, spending time cleaning my house, teaching preschool at home, making banana muffins to welcome new neighbors, having movie nights with friends, having playdates, babysitting for friends, spending time with family, running/ lifting/ doing yoga to stay in shape, and on and on and on….
These things come first.
So yes…. it’s been a bit longer than usual between my posts. But I’ve decided to post when I can and put the rest of everything first. I love developing recipes, styling & photographing them, and blogging about them. I hope to make it a full time job someday. But, for now, it is quite part time. And I’m finally okay with that. I hope you’ll bear with me.
That being said… I thought about saving this recipe up for an Dinnertime eBook that I plan on selling in the future…. (ah!!! CRAZY!! So excited!!)
While those plans are still in motion and constantly in the back of my mind, I wanted to share this recipe NOW.
I just couldn’t wait.
This is not the sort of dish I would have had growing up. My family had delicious meals and we often made it a point to gather around our family table to enjoy them… even when things with school, sports, choir & other activities started infiltrating our lives. But we stuck to the tried and true dinner recipes. This one would have been quite off beat and a bit exotic for us. I had never had anything like it until my college years in downtown Chicago.
“Chicken Tikka Masala”
Even the name sounds exotic. Let alone the ingredients and the heritage of the dish.
I did some research and there is no clear answer for where this dish originated. However, the most appealing story for me was the one told by the son of a man who owned a restaurant in Glasgow (Scotland). The son said one night a bus drive came in and ordered chicken curry. He sent it back and said it was too dry. So, the owner (the dad) suggested putting some tomato soup and spices into the curry to moisten it (He was eating tomato soup when the complain hit his ears). The dish was altered as suggested and sent back to the table. The bus driver LOVED the dish and raved about it…. coming back several times to enjoy it with friends. Eventually it was made a staple on the menu.
True or not…. I love that story. Sometimes REALLY good food happens by accident. Ingredients that would not normally be melded together are melded. Ingredients that would not usually be the star are substituted. And suddenly… a new dish is born.
There are thousands of recipes out there for this dish. Lots and lots.
I hope you love my version. It’s officially now a staple on our family’s “menu”. Recipes are never really “set in stone” for me (I’m always experimenting, tweaking and trying new things depending on what I have on hand or what kind of time I have to work with)… but, for now, this recipe is technically a “set” recipe in my arsenal.
I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!!
- Spice Mixture:
- 4 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp turmeric (optional)
- ⅛-½ tsp cayenne pepper, depending on the heat level you desire!
- For the Chicken & Sauce:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 ounces each)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 6 TBSP canola oil (or other vegetable oil), divided
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or grated
- 1 large white onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 29-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup (8-oz) coconut milk
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish if desired
- PREP WORK:
- Measure out the spices into a small bowl or ramekin
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season them really well all over with 4 tsp of the spice mixture (1 tsp for each chicken breast).
- Whisk together the 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 TBSP canola oil, 4 minced or grated garlic cloves and 1 ½ tsp of the spice mixture together in a medium bowl. Cover tightly and pop it in the fridge.
- Chop the large onion finely
- Mince the 2 garlic cloves
- Measure out the 1 TBSP tomato paste
- Open your can of crushed tomatoes
- Measure out your 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
- Measure out 1 cup coconut milk
- Chop your ¼ cup cilantro
- TO MAKE THE CHICKEN & SAUCE:
- Remove the chicken and the yogurt mixture from the fridge. Using a tongs, dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture. Coat the chicken with a good, thick layer of yogurt on all sides and place back on the large plate. Discard the excess yogurt mixture after dipping.
- Heat 2 TBSP of the canola oil in a large pot or large, deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Using a tongs, remove the chicken from the pan to a large plate. Rinse and wipe out the pan. Or, alternatively, use a separate grill pan to cook the chicken if you prefer.
- Heat the remaining 2 TBSP canola oil in the pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add in the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Add in the minced garlic, tomato paste, and the remaining spice mixture. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add in the can of crushed tomatoes, the sugar and ½ cup water to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken back into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and, using a clean tongs, transfer the chicken from the sauce to a cutting board. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the coconut milk and the ¼ cup chopped cilantro. Taste the sauce and season with salt if needed. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and add it back into the pan with the sauce, stirring gently to combine.
- Sprinkle the entire dish with a bit more chopped fresh cilantro and serve over cooked white/ brown rice with warm naan and a cucumber raita on the side.