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Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala, with its most delicious looks and flavor-packed gravy, is a lovely treat at a weekend dinner, potlucks, or get–together. The sheer delight that each mouthful bite brings is inexplicable. This rich and creamy dish will exhilarate the senses and drive your taste buds to sheer ecstasy.

Prepare this unbelievably luscious dish and enjoy the applause it brings to you from your enthralled family and friends!




CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA INGREDIENT LIST


Don’t let the long list of ingredients and the steps-to-make-this-Chicken tikka masala recipe deter you from trying this recipe. This dish may have a lengthy process, but I can guarantee it is well worth it!

Chicken Breasts — This recipe uses chicken breasts cut into cubes. You can use chicken thighs too.

Lemon Juice — Helps to tenderize the chicken pieces and adds a hint of lemony flavor.

Yogurt — Tenderizes the chicken pieces and makes them more succulent. Always use thick-hung curd or Greek yogurt for marination. 

Onions — They add an earthy and robust taste to our rich and delicious gravy.

Ginger- Garlic paste — This paste renders an intense gingerly spice and flavorsome pungency of the garlic to the chicken pieces.

Kashmiri Red Chilli powder — It is known to intensify the color beautifully and add subtle chili hotness that’s ethereal.

Spices — Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder, Garam Masala: These spices, in combination, add bright flavors to the drool-worthy dish.

Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) — Renders the dish with a unique flavor and aroma that puts the dish over the top.

Tandoori Masala Powder — An ideal mix of the most aromatic and flavorsome spices, Tandoori Masala Powder adds a kick of heat and spiciness to the succulent Chicken Tikka pieces.

Whole spices — A perfect combination of whole spices lend aroma to the recipe besides a blissful flavor that takes things over the edge!

Tomatoes/ Tomato Puree — Tomatoes form the base ingredient for a supremely rich and colorful sauce gravy. Tomato puree adds to the incredible creaminess and vibrancy of the gravy.

Green Chillies — Added to the dish to bring the right amount of hotness to the otherwise subtly spiced gravy.

Cashew nuts and melon seeds — A blend of cashew nuts and melon seeds paste gives the gravy its richness and the exquisite creaminess that the dish is loved for.

Coriander leaves — Chopped coriander leaves are added to the prepared dish, making it a complete show-stopper!

Cream — Lends smoothness and soothing subtleness to the gravy.

Oil/ Butter — Any mild-flavored oil or butter/ ghee is used for cooking the rich gravy sauce.




HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA


This section walks you through a detailed step-by-step recipe with pictures. Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for the FULL, printable recipe card.

  • Rinse Chicken — Add chicken pieces to a glass bowl. Rub the pieces under tap water to get rid of the bacteria. Drain and set aside. 

  • PROTIP— When it comes to handling meat, be rest assured safety is my first concern, and I am very well aware of basic hygiene. Although I DO prefer to rinse the chicken in a bowl (to avoid splashing) before cooking to eliminate any pathogenic bacteria it may contain because of all the handling and packaging.

  • Marinate Chicken — Combine the rinsed chicken pieces with lemon juice and salt in a large whisking bowl. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.

  • Prepare the second marinade — Add yogurt to a large whisking bowlAdd Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste, Haldi (turmeric), garam masala powder, cumin powder, tandoori masala powderand kasoori methi to it. Mix until all the ingredients are well blended.  After 30 minutes, add this second marinade to the chicken pieces. Rub the marinade all over the chicken until all the pieces are covered in it.  Cover the bowl and allow the chicken to marinate for 4-5 hours.

  • PROTIP— If you have time, you can refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours. The longer it marinates, the better it tastes.   Grill the chicken — After the marination time is done, Preheat the oven to @400°F. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the skewers. Line the skewers on a baking tray and grill in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until done. Once done, remove from skewers and set aside. 

  • PROTIPRemember the chicken pieces will be cooked in the gravy, too; therefore, do not overcook the chicken.

  • Soak Cashews Add cashew nuts and melon seeds to a bowl. Pour water and allow them to soak for 30-40 minutes. After the soak time is over, add the soaked cashews and melon seeds mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. The melon-cashew mix should be smooth, not gritty in texture.

  • Prepare the gravy — Heat mustard oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add whole black cardamom and bay leaves. Lightly sauté the whole spices in oil to release their aroma and flavor. Add cumin seeds to the whole spices and as they start to crackle, stir in the ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell is gone. Add the minced onions and green chilies, and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring in between to avoid burning. Stir in tomato purée and tomato paste. Cook until the oil separates. Add whisked yogurt, coriander powder, Haldi powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, salt, and tandoori masala powder. Mix until everything is well blended.  Add the melon-cashew mix to the simmering masala. Mix it well. Stir in garam masala powder and kasoori methi, and mix again. Close the burner and allow the masala to cool completely.  Transfer it to a blender, add 1/4 cup of water, and pulse, until smooth. 

  • Assemble Chicken Tikka Masala — Pass the pureed tikka masala through a sieve into a large pan. Press to sieve all the liquid through the strainer. Discard the gritty stuff. The chicken tikka masala is strained to attain that soft and velvety texture. Add 1¾ cup of water to dilute the masala. Add cream and mix until blended.  Time to add grilled chicken tikka to the gravy. Lower the heat and allow the gravy to simmer. Add butter pieces and mix it well. Allow the chicken tikka masala to simmer for 4-5 minutes over medium-low heat. Once done, take it off the heat. 


Finish the dish — Finally, finish the Chicken tikka masala with a swirl of cream, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve alongside Tandoori garlic roti.

Do not overcook — A lip-smacking Chicken Tikka is ideally cooked on a tandoor/ grill until charred. It is then added to the lusciously prepared gravy for a finished Chicken Tikka Masala. Take care not to overcook the dish, as this will result in rubbery and chewy chicken pieces. Cook it until it is completely coated with sauce, and let it soak the flavors themselves!






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