One of my biggest challenges with cooking is making chicken. I sometimes just don't trust when it's cooked all the way through. My mom used to say "you know that it's finished when it's no longer pink," but that's just not a good enough description for me. Sometimes it's still a little rubbery with a white, cooked, center. With that being said, I am notorious for overcooking chicken, but not this time! My chicken tikka masala came out so tender and juicy. I was concerned because multiple recipes I read call for you to cook the chicken in the masala sauce and that just didn't sound correct to me but it did turn out delicious!
Also, fun fact...I've never actually had chicken tikka masala so if you test this recipe and decide it's nothing like the real thing shoot me a message!
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp garam masala spice blend (can be found in many grocery stores and spice shops)
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt
vegetable oil to grease the pan
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 can tomato paste
handful fresh cilantro optional, chopped
Start by preparing your chicken cubes. Then in a separate bowl mix yogurt, garam masala, coriander and 1/2 teaspoon salt, mix well.
Add chicken to yogurt mixture, mix and refrigerate while you prepare the sauce.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add vegetable oil. Add onions, cook about 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to mix all of the spices together and coat the onions.
Stir in the tomato paste, if mixture is too dry slowly add in water; no more than 1/2 cup. Mix well before adding in the other liquids. Stir often to avoid any burning. Turn heat down to medium/low, if needed. **My stove gets way hotter than it should so I always have to adjust the temp to avoid burning even at level 2.
Let sauce bubble before adding in the chicken/yogurt mixture. This way you know your sauce is hot enough to cook your chicken and keep it juicy.
Simmer on low heat covered. The top on your pot will help the heat distribute and cook your chicken thoroughly. This took me about 15 minutes. Checking after 10 minutes.
I served the Chicken Tikka Masala over Jasmine Rice with a slice of pita and garnished with cilantro.
This recipe can easily be made into a vegetarian or vegan dish.
**Replace the chicken with tofu, broccoli, cauliflower, or potatoes. Season at the beginning of the preparation stage to marinate the veggies and tofu before the cooking step. Read my post on Lemon Pepper Tofu to see my tip of making the best tofu-chicken texture.
**Use coconut milk to substitute for the yogurt. You might have to add a thickening agent like nutritional yeast or flour.