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Chicken Tikka McGyver Masala

This happens more than it should. I realize 1-1/2 hours before dinner that I’m not sure what to make and I have some chicken that’s defrosted and ready to go…what to make, what to make? To further complicate matters, I’m trying to stretch out the intervals between grocery trips, so this is one of those days where we’ve got limited fresh produce and perishables. I checked the crisper and had some ginger and a lonely jalapeño. I feel like McGyver. Can this meal be saved?

I searched for a recipe which included “chicken, jalapeño and ginger” and wouldn’t require a grocery run. I landed on this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. Really? I have the ingredients? Unbelievable. I had everything except half-and-half, which I substituted with pantry-friendly, coconut milk and I skipped the cilantro.

Overall the recipe is wonderful, but a few notes: the recipe calls for grilling the chicken, but I used the broiler on this chilly day and I’ve added the broiling instructions below. Also, I found the chicken a bit salty from the spice rub, so I noted a recommendation to cut it in half.

Usually, under these circumstances, it is really obvious I threw things together. Random ingredients thrown in a bowl with pasta or “Hey kids, it’s breakfast for supper.” But this was no ordinary day. This Chicken Tikka Masala is a great Indian food fix and it is definitely one I will add to the regular rotation. It tasted great served with basmati and would pair well with this homemade naan from an earlier post.

This is a last-minute meal for the record books. Take that, ginger and jalapeño.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Ingredients:
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt (next time I’d cut to 1/2 tsp)
  • 6 – 8 boneless chicken thighs (I used skinless/boneless chicken breast, sliced in half to an even thickness) 
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced or through a press
  • 1 ttablespoon fresh grated ginger

Garam Masala Spice Mix: (I used the Spice Hunter Garam Masala)

  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Masala Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 jalapeño chili, flesh minced – ribs & seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala spice (store-bought or above spice mix)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup half-n-half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture sticks to chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Mix yogurt, vegetable oil, garlic and ginger. Set aside. During this time you can fire up the grill and get it hot and start work on the Masala sauce.

In a large pot, or Dutch oven heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onions, stirring frequently, and cook until onions are light brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, jalapeño pepper, tomato paste, and garam masala spices; cook, stirring frequently until fragrant which will be about 3 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, sugar and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Half-n-Half, return to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not burn mixture. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

To Grill: Once grill is hot, dip chicken pieces in yogurt mixture. Chicken should be coated with a thick layer of yogurt. Place chicken pieces on grill and cook until chicken is done, about 10-12 minutes. Discard left over yogurt mixture. Remove chicken from grill and let cool slightly. Chop chicken into 1” pieces.

To Broil: Turn on broiler and place top rack on the top third of the oven. Prep broiler pan or a large rimmed cookie sheet. If using a rimmed cookie sheet, place an oven-proof cooling rack and spray rack with cooking spray.) Once oven is heated, dip chicken pieces in yogurt mixture. Chicken should be coated with a thick layer of yogurt. Place chicken pieces on rack and cook about 5-8 minutes, flip over and finish cooking 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool slightly. Chop chicken into 1” pieces. (Be sure to discard left over yogurt mixture.)

To serve add cilantro to warm masala sauce and mix well. Add chicken pieces to sauce and mix lightly. Do not simmer chicken in sauce. To serve, spoon chicken and masala sauce over basmati rice.

© Dorene Krausnick and KrausnicKitchen 2011-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dorene Krausnick and KrausnicKitchen with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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  • KrausnicKitchen Copyright Notice

    © Dorene Krausnick and KrausnicKitchen 2011-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dorene Krausnick and KrausnicKitchen with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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