Mr. O-P is the guy who first introduced me to Indian food. It was a whole different kind of taste for me, but I liked it. He also gave me my first taste of chutney and I liked that enough to begin making my own, and enjoying it with chicken and ham in addition to the various Indian dishes. So when I saw a recipe on epicurious.com for a Quick Chicken Tikka Masala, I had to try it. The claim was that it would be on the table in 40 minutes. It nearly was, though I changed up the recipe a bit, adding some precious minutes, and let it simmer a tiny bit more because I wanted to make sure that the flavors were fully infused and the chicken fully done. For what turned out to be minimal effort, it gave a big return. This dish is complex, intensely flavorful, and absolutely delicious. It has a bit of a peppery kick, so a delicate palate might want to cut back a bit on the cayenne. As written, it nicely serves 2. I served it with coconut rice, various chutneys, and naan. It you're looking to spice up your midweek dinner doldrums with something exotic yet easy, this is it.
Quick Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from epicurious.com
1 (1-1/2”) piece ginger, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
1 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided,
plus more to taste
1-1/4 teaspoons garam masala, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
Pulse ginger and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add onion and pulse again until finely chopped.
Toss chicken with 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 tsp. garam masala in a medium bowl.
Heat oil over high heat in a 10” skillet. Add chicken and cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a clean bowl.
Heat the same skillet over medium-high heat and add butter, chopped onion mixture, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add tomato paste, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 3/4 tsp. garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot, about 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan, add peas, heavy cream, and coconut milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 3 minutes more. (At this point I covered the pan and let the chicken simmer on low heat while I prepared the rice.)
Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among 2 plates, top with cilantro, and pass the naan.
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