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Author Notes: A balanced blend of Punjabi spices, tender, charred chicken and garlicky ginger tomato sauce served up with rice or naan, chicken tikka masala is the perfect comforting winter dish. However, the origins of chicken tikka masala are the subject of hot debate. According to legend, a UK chef invented the dish over 50 years ago when a customer complained of the chicken tikka being too dry. One can of tinned tomato soup later, chicken tikka masala was born. Others, more seriously, claim the origins of chicken tikka masala date back to the Mughal period when Mughali chefs served royalty the dish. According to Delhi's authoritative street food expert, Rahul Verma, said he first tasted the dish in 1971 and that its origins were Punjabi. "Its basically a Punjabi dish not more than 40-50 years old and must be an accidental discovery which has had periodical improvisations," he said.
Regardless of its origins, chicken tikka masala has come to be loved the world over, which is why we're so excited to cook with it using RawSpiceBar Tandoori Spices & Punjabi Garam Masala blends. —RawSpiceBar
piece RawSpiceBar's Tandoori Spices RawSpiceBar's Punjabi Garam Masala
pounds boneless, skinless chicken
pieces garlic cloves
piece inch piece of ginger
pieces oz canned whole tomatoes
tablespoons vegetable of canola oil
cups thick yogurt (we love using greek yogurt
piece Salt & pepper
piece Rice or naan, for serving
- Whisk the yogurt in a large bowl. Stick to a thicker yogurt if you can- we love using greek yogurt for tons of flavor and thickness without the fat otherwise a full fat or semi fat yogurt will do.
- Chop or crush 3-4 garlic cloves and 1/2 inch ginger in a mortar pestle, food processor or with the back of your knife. Add half of this ginger garlic paste to the yogurt.
- Add in RawSpiceBar's tandoori spice blend and blend all ingredients.
- Cut and cube chicken, about 1 inch thick. Season generously with salt, and pepper if preferred. Add all cubed chicken, to the yogurt mixture and coat well. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least one hour and up to 5 hours.
- When the chicken is ready to be cooked, fire up the grill, grill pan or broiler to high heat. Thread the chicken cubes on bamboo or metal skewers and add to very high heat, about 10 minutes until the chicken starts to brown and char. Leave the chicken slightly undercooked in the center, as the chicken will simmer in the sauce under low heat for another 15 minutes and will cook through.
- Heat oil or butter in a large dutch oven over medium high heat until hot. Add 1 chopped onion and allow to brown until golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add in chopped tomatoes (without the juice)
- Add the remaining garlic ginger paste until the raw aroma is gone, about 2 minutes.
- Add RawSpiceBar's masala spice blend and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add in remaining tomato juice and reduce heat to medium low.Allow to simmer for 20 minutes until tomatoes cook down. Stir in cream (if using).
- Add charred chicken to the sauce and bring to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add a splash of lemon juice and cilantro to finish. Serve alongside rice or naan.
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