Chicken Tikka Masala
with peas / cauliflower / rice / yogurt
This Indian take-out favorite, which we last featured in 2017, is surprisingly easy to make at home. It's worth the extra time to marinate the chicken in spices and yogurt. This gives the dish authentic flavor and tenderizes the meat.
Smarts: Like most Indian curries, this one will taste even better after a day or two in the fridge.
- Coriander, ground - 2 tsp
- Garam masala - 2 tsp
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Cumin - 1 tsp
- Turmeric, ground (opt) - 1 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Rice, uncooked white or brown - 1 cup
- Onions, medium - 1 , chopped
- Ginger, fresh (opt) - 2 tsp , grated
- Garlic - 3 cloves , chopped
- Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless - 1 lb , halved
- Indian Spice Mix (ingredients listed separately) - 3 tsp + 3 tsp
- Yogurt, plain or Greek - 1/2 cup , plus more for serving
- Peas, frozen - 1 cup
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Butter - 2 Tbsp
- Tomato paste - 1 Tbsp
- Tomatoes, crushed (28 oz / 794 g) - 1 can
- Cauliflower florets, frozen - 6 oz
- Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
- Cilantro - 2 Tbsp , leaves torn
- Lime juice - 2 tsp
- Yogurt, plain or Greek - for serving
Rice - (Double if making Tuesday's meal.) For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make spice mix - Combine coriander, garam masala, salt, cumin, turmeric, and red pepper flakes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Marinate chicken - Slice chicken breasts in half and tenderize with a fork. Combine first portion of spice mix and yogurt in a baking dish. Add chicken to yogurt and turn to coat in marinade. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to a day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
Peas - Defrost peas.
Heat a Dutch oven with oil over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess marinade, and place in oil (discard marinade). Cook chicken for 2 minutes on each side to get it started cooking (don't worry if it's not cooked through). Set aside.
To heated pan, add butter and then onions. Saute until onions start to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in ginger (if using), garlic, and second portion of spice mix. Saute for 1 minute more.
Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and cauliflower (no need to defrost it first). Bring to a simmer.
Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and return it to pan. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, ~15 minutes.
Add peas and heavy cream. Continue simmering for 5 minutes more to let the flavors develop.
While masala simmers, chop cilantro.
If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave. (Reserve half if doubled.)
Stir lime juice into masala. Taste and add some salt, pepper, or more lime juice if needed.
Serve masala over rice with cilantro and yogurt on top. Enjoy!