But last night, I decided to embark on a cooking adventure. I decided I would make my Chicken Tikka Masala from scratch. Now, this is definitely not an easy feat. Especially when I'm not in my home kitchen (we're house sitting for the 'rents). I actually had to make a trip to our local store because the supermarket by my parents doesn't have garam masala, a necessary ingredient.
I got this recipe from Food and Wine, and aside from the exotic ingredients - it looked pretty easy. So I set to work. Jon helped by making some brown rice to serve with it since, sans rice cooker, I am the world's worst rice maker.
I kept getting more and more excited as I cooked - the fragrant aroma drifting through the kitchen. I was a little concerned about the color because it was so red, but as soon as I added the cream it became the gorgeous orange color we all know and love.
Just as the smell and look matched my expectations, so did the taste. It was exquisitely spicy. Amazingly tasty. Definitely as good as the restaurants and far surpassing the bottled stuff (which I am afraid I can never go back to again). I'm so glad I took the risk, because it was worth all the effort. I can't wait to eat the leftovers!
Preparation1. MAKE THE MASALA MARINADE: In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.
2. PREPARE THE CHICKEN: Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape off as much of the marinade as possible. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on a baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces.
4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.
5. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and serve.