Thanks to everyone who sent kind notes about my foray into the world of yummy spices! I would like to send a special thank you to one of my uncles who kindly recommended I have a certain pink bottle handy – how prescient!
The tikka masala turned out delicious and even Thing 2 ate it which is no small feat. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, the first ‘real’ food Thing 2 would eat was chicken biryani made by his Farhana Chachi. Do I sense a trend?
The recipe hails from Shehzad Husain & Manisha Kanani’s Healthy Indian Cooking (Hermes House, 1997).
1.5 lbs. chicken breasts, skinned & cut into 1″ cubes
6 tbsp tikka paste
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tbsp neutral oil (used grape seed)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (I used 3 and minced then)
1 green chilli, seeded and chopped
1 one-inch piece ginger root, grated (I used a heaping tbsp of ginger paste)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 cup water
a little melted butter (I used none)
1 tbsp lemon juice
fresh coriander sprigs, yogurt, and toasted cumin seeds (I forgot ALL of that)
Naan, to serve (didn’t have any so used brown rice)
1. Remove any visible fat from the chicken and cut into the cubes. Put 3 tbsp of the tikka paste and 4 tbsp of the yogurt into a bowl, mix together and add the chicken to marinate for about 20 minutes.
2. For the tikka sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for 5 minutes. Add the remaining tikka paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, thread the chicken pieces onto wooden kebab skewers. Pre-heat the grill.
I had no intention of grilling chicken because 1) I don’t have a grill, and 2) this was already a bit labor intensive so I just threw the chicken into a heavy skillet with a bit of oil to brown and then added it to the tikka sauce.
4. Brush the chicken pieces lightly with the melted butter (hence, no need for the butter) and grill under a medium heat for 15 minutes, turning the skewers occasionally. I think the authors mean this step to be broiling rather than grilling.
5. Put the tikka sauce into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return to the pan.
6. Add the remaining yogurt and lemon juice, remove the grilled chicken pieces from the skewers and add to the sauce pan, then simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander, yogurt, and toasted cumin seeds and serve on naan bread.