I like planning out recipes - making sure I have all the ingredients, reading all of the reviews. Joey is way more spontaneous. He will decide he wants to make something, and will make it work with what we have on hand. He's good enough at cooking that he can figure out similar flavor profiles using different ingredients. A couple months ago, he decided he wanted to make tikka masala. We actually had most of what we needed, amazingly, and it turned out REALLY well! He followed the recipe for lamb, but used chicken instead. I used shrimp with my serving, and I thought the sweetness of the shrimp counteracted the spiciness of the sauce really nicely.
Recipe: Tikka Masala with Chicken
Adapted from Alton Brown
Yield: 6 servings
2 tbsp garam masala, divided (you can make your own, we used store bought)
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup plain yogurt (we used Greek because it's what we had)
2 tbsp clarified butter
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 (heaping) tsp ground ginger
1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced
28oz diced tomatoes (we used 1 15oz can stewed, 1 15oz can diced, and added 1 fresh)
1 cup coconut milk (we didn't have any, so used a mixture of whole milk and cream)
Combine 1 tbsp of the garam masala, 1 tsp of the salt, cumin, coriander, and pepper in a 1-gallon resealable bag. Seal and shake the bag to combine. Add the chicken, and shake to coat. Add the yogurt to the bag, seal and squish to coat. Refrigerate the bag in a leak proof container for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Heat the clarified butter in a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium-high heat, until it shimmers and almost begins to smoke. Add the onion and remaining tsp of salt, and cook until the onion is browned around the edges, 11-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and chile. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions have softened and browned completely, approximately 7 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining tbsp of garam masala and the ginger, and stir several times to coat.
Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have reduced slightly and deepened in color, 15-20 minutes.
While cooking, start on the chicken. Remove the chicken from the yogurt mixture, leaving as much yogurt on the meat as possible. Lightly coat a grill pan with vegetable oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Put the chicken in the pan, and cook until lightly charred and cooked through, turning so all sides are heated. Remove one of the pieces from the pan and cut open to make sure it is cooked through.
Add the coconut milk to the tomato mixture and stir to combine and heat through. Using an immersion blender, blend parts of it slightly, but still leaving lots of texture.
Serve with quinoa or rice, and the grilled chicken.
If you want to serve it with shrimp instead of chicken, that's even easier! Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Place desired amount of shrimp on the pan (it's easier if they're already peeled), sprinkle with ground pepper and garam masala, and cook for 7 minutes.