This recipe comes to us by way of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, but is technically done by her friend, Pastor Ryan.  I’ve made Indian food maybe once before, and that dish came from a newspaper cooking section, and was not nearly as delicious as this one.  I don’t think I have ever had Chicken Tikka Masala before, but I knew it looked delicious and since it had so many interesting Indian spices in it, it had to be good, right?

And delicious it definitely was.  There were so many different flavors due to spices, and it was spicy as well, and the chicken was moist and delicious.  I believe the fact that the chicken was so moist has to do with the fact that you broil it, but cover it in plain yogurt first.  The first time I made this was for my sister in law and her husband, and they couldn’t get enough of it.  The first time I ate it, my stomach was mad at me for 2 days.  But that didn’t stop me from getting back on the horse and making it again, that’s how good it was.  And the second time, my stomach was fine, thank you very much.

Now that I think about it, I never even had Indian food until a few years ago, when my sister in law and husband took us to one of their favorite places, Bukhara in JP, Mass.  They took us there a few times, and I could never get over the perfect rice, the chunks of chicken in their spicy yet complex sauces, and the naan.  Oh, the naan.  Had I paid attention once, I would have known that my sister in law wasn’t drinking, as they told us she was pregnant with our adorable nephew about a month later.  Now I know the signs, should they decide to have another baby.  I’m on to their sneaky ways.

Make a big batch of this, serve it with some amazingly delicious Trader Joe’s naan, and you will be set for days.

Chicken Tikka Masala

3-4 Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
6 Tb. Butter
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
28 oz. crushed or diced tomatoes (I used two 15 oz. cans of fire roasted diced and that worked well)
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
1×2 inch chunk of fresh ginger
3 tb. garam masala (I had to do a bit of searching for this, but found it at Whole Foods)
ground coriander
kosher salt
1 tb. sugar
2 cups basmati rice
1 tb. ground tumeric
frozen peas

Season the chicken breasts with kosher salt, cumin, and ground coriander.  Coat the chicken breasts with the plain yogurt.  Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack on top of a baking sheet (covered in tin foil, this is very important, I forgot to do so, and paid dearly when doing dishes).  Place about 10-12 inches under broiler and broil for about 5-7 minutes each side, until slightly blackened.  Remove from oven.

Dice the onion and heat up 2 tb. of butter in a large skillet.  Cook the onions until they are slightly browned.  Next add in onions and ginger and cook for a few more minutes.

Add in salt, 3 tb. garam masala spice, and diced tomatoes.  Continue cooking and stirring, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add 1 tb. of sugar, and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

To your rice cooker (or you can make it on the stove as well) add your rice, 4 tb. butter, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tb. ground tumeric, and 4 cups water.  Once the rice is done, stir in frozen peas.  The heat of the rice will thaw the peas right out.

Once the sauce has simmered for a bit, stir in the heavy cream.  Chop up your chicken breasts into good sized chunks, and add them to the sauce.   Serve the chicken mixture over rice, with some naan on the side.