I have made this dish so many times. So. Many. Times. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to blog it, because it is so good.
I wish I was more adventurous when it comes to ethnic foods, but I’m not. The only Indian dishes I’ve ever had are chicken tikka masala and chicken vindaloo, and those are also the only ones I’ve ever made at home. I’ve only made chicken vindaloo once, but it was so hot it was almost inedible. Since then, I’ve typically stuck with the tikka masala. And I’ve stuck with this recipe. It seriously comes out perfect every time (as long as you don’t use italian style tomatoes with basil… Then it comes out a little bit weird.).
This dish has a long list of ingredients and a lot of steps, but it isn’t at all complicated. I’ve made a few modifications based on my personal preferences (less yogurt stirred into the sauce, a lot more spices) and I’ve ended up with a truly delicious dish.
My favorite thing about this recipe is how the chicken is cooked. The chicken is rubbed with spices, slathered in plain yogurt and broiled. The chicken comes out unbelievaby tender and flavorful each and every time. And since grilling is a pain since we live in an apartment, I love the beautiful charring this cooking method gives the chicken.
And I will ask you not to omit the cilantro. Some is stirred into the sauce, and I use a little extra as a garnish. Don’t use it as a garnish if you don’t like it, but please stir it into the sauce. It gives it a pop of freshness and I think adds a lot to the recipe. My cilantro hating husband never even noticed it was hidden in there.
For the Chicken:
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1″ chunk of fresh ginger; grated
2 fresh serrano chiles (ribs and seeds removed), minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoon garam masala
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 T. plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
For the chicken:
In a small bowl, stir together cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt. Spread out a piece of plastic wrap and place chicken on it. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture and roll up in plastic wrap. Sit on a plate (to catch any mess) and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. While chicken is in fridge, in large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger.
For the masala sauce:
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste and garam masala and continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat off and stir in yogurt. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
For the Chicken:
While sauce is simmering, Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over it. Spray rack with cooking spray. Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heat) and pre-heat broiler. Dip chicken into the yogurt mixture (you want a thick coating of yogurt) then lay chicken on the wire rack. Throw out any remaining yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is charred in spots (about 10 minutes on each side).
Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut into 1-inch chunks. Stir into the sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, season with salt to taste and serve over rice with warm naan.
And the leftovers? They just get better & better!