Being half Indian people expect me just know how to bust out some Indian cuisine like that or know all the customs. But, we didn't grow up like that. My mom was a white woman, a farmer's daughter from Utah, who happened to marry an Indian. She loved the Indian culture and tried to teach us what she could. But, we grew up like most Americans. Eating regular American food. When my mom did attempt Indian cooking, she Americanized it so much for our tastes, that it was Indian food in name only. She was an amazing cook and baker, but Indian food was not her forte, probably because we wouldn't eat it if she had made it correctly.
As I have gotten older and my tastes have changed and matured, I have longed to know how to make authentic Indian cuisine and cooking. It's hard, people. Usually there's like 10-15 spices per dish. Whenever I go out to dinner at an Indian restaurant, I always order the same thing. Chicken Tikka Masala. So good. So creamy. So spicy. So expensive.
So, I decided to jump in and try to make it at home. And what I've come up with tastes very close to my favorite Indian restaurant. I have taken inspiration from cookbooks I found after my mom past away, The Pioneer Woman, and Aarti Paarti on the Food Network. I took little things from each and made this my own.
(And to boost confidence in this recipe, my Indian dad thinks it's authentic tasting. Ya, baby.)
Chicken Tikka Masala
6 ounce carton of plain Greek yogurt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 T butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh garlic, grated
2 T garam masala (spice mixture recipe at end of recipe)
juice of one lemon
1 Serrano chile pepper
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 c heavy cream
1 T honey
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut chicken breasts into bite size chunks. In a bowl, rub the chicken with the Greek yogurt and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken on a baking rack that is set on a cookie sheet. Bake chicken for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. While the chicken is baking, melt the better in a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, diced onion and grated ginger. TIP: If you don't have a micro-plane or a zester, use the small side of your cheese grater to grate the ginger. Sprinkle with salt to release the juices and sweat them for about 5 minutes. Add the garam masala seasonings and cook the spices for another 1-2 minutes. Squeeze in the fresh lemon juice and stir the spice mixture, careful not to burn them. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, cream, honey and stir well. To add extra heat, poke several holes into the Serrano pepper and add to the sauce. If you want MORE heat, dice the Serrano pepper and add it in. I find just poking holes in it makes it a nice medium heat. Cook the sauce for about 10 more minutes to let the flavors marry. When chicken is done baking, add it to the sauce and stir to coat the chicken. Serve over basmati rice. Can be garnished with fresh cilantro.
You can buy the mix at some grocery stores but I have not found it lately, so I resorted to making my own mixture. It makes quite a bit, so I store it in a plastic container.
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground black pepper
1/2 T ground cayenne
1 T ground ginger
1 T ground cardamom
1 T ground nutmeg
1 t ground cloves
1 T ground fennel seed