Chicken Tikka Masala


I think we all have certain types of foods or ingredients that we aren’t sure of or are scared of. For me, that was Indian Food because I was intimidated by the spices.  I decided to take on this challenge for Cooking Club this month for the theme of “never used ingredient.”  Considering this is what I always order at Indian restaurants (or even frozen foods), I knew I had to make it. Indian food may not exactly be something typically cooked in an American Household, but I love the way these bold flavors will awaken your taste buds.  
This flavorful dish may not be for week nights, but definitely worth giving it a try.
·         1 cup yogurt
·         1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise, pounded flat.
·         2 tablespoons lime juice
·         3 garlic cloves, diced
·         2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
·         2 teaspoons ground turmeric
·         1 teaspoons garam masala
·         1 teaspoons ground cumin
·         1 tablespoon kosher salt
·         2 tablespoons  vegetable oil
·         1 small onion, thinly sliced
·         1/8 cup tomato paste
·         1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
·         1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (or puree)
·         1 cups half-and-half (or heavy cream)
·         Steamed basmati rice (for serving)
In a gallon bag, mix yogurt, lime juice, and pounded chicken.  “Squish” it around so chicken is coated.  Chill 4+ hours (or overnight.) 
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add onion, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin.  Add spices to pan, and cook for about 4 minutes, until pan is brown.


Add tomatoes by crushing them with your hand. (Watch out – they squirt! Also, if you prefer a less rustic dish, just use tomato puree.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. 



Add half-and-half, and simmer until sauce thickens again, about 10-20 minutes.



In the meantime, broil chicken until it starts to blacken. (You can also grill it at this point.) Do not cook it all the way through. (About 10 minutes.) Cut chicken into bite size pieces, add to the sauce.
Simmer until chicken is cooked through 8-10 minutes. 



Serve with rice (and cilantro if you want.)


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