This is something I would maybe call weekend food.
Or project food?
Or fun food? What I mean is, it’s simple and delicious but takes a bit of time. Maybe best for a night/day when you aren’t racing around trying to pack for a trip that you’re totally not prepared for while cleaning the house for the house-sitter and trying to remember 98237 things that need to get done before you leave when really all you want to do is have some dang dinner and go to bed.
That was me last night. Ugh. I’m in a plane right now.
When you do have some time though, maybe an hour or two, you NEED to make this. It is delicious. You remember from when I made madras curry that my dad went to India and brought me some spices? He did. And I read and read and read about tikka masala because I love it so much in restaurants and wanted to make it.
And THEN Jay went out of town and the girls came over for dinner and we drank all the wine (no, really, all of it) and I made this for them. It’s such a great family-style meal – so flavorful and comforting and can be made HOURS in advance.
I hope you like it! Let’s get down to it. You need chicken, crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, chili pepper (fresh or flaked, whatevs), ginger, yogurt, salt, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and heavy cream. That’s cilantro for serving, which you can use or not. Not so bad, right? The garam masala is really what makes curry taste like curry so….find it. It’s available in most spice sections, so don’t fret too much. If you have more time than me, feel free to google and make your own. Let me know how it goes, mmkay? Show off.
Turn the chicken over in the yogurt so it’s totally coated, then stick it in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes to 4 hours….just as long as you have. Don’t freak out about it too much, even a short marinating time will yield lovely chicken!
For timing this meal, btw, you can do two things: marinate the chicken and wander off, then boil the chicken while you make the curry separately and cook rice separately and be totally done in about 45 minutes. OR, you can marinate the chicken, and make the curry, then let the curry sit on the stove (turned off) until you’re close to ready to eat, then broil the chicken at the last minute, throw it in, and call it a day. It won’t matter either way, trust me. Just do what works with your busy life.
ANYWAY. The chicken. Pretend it’s done marinating, OK? To broil it, I like to set tin foil in a baking sheet, then a rack over the foil. Broil the chicken on the first side for 10 minutes or so – we want nice char marks to form. Your broiling time will depend on how close your chicken is to the broiler – 8 inches or so is a good distance. Check the chicken after a few minutes!
Now, of course this is happening while you live your life or make the curry – I’m just showing you all the chicken steps in a row for the sake of my sanity. Let the chicken cool until you can handle it, and then use forks or your fingers to tear it into big chunks.
Then mince the garlic finely by moving you knife over and over the cutting board. Yum!
Stir everything together, and taste – add more salt if you’d like, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper – I did that for a little extra heat, and YUM. So good. If you like a super creamy curry you can add a bit more cream, too, but I didn’t find that to be necessary. I like the tang of the tomatoes!
Now, it’s time to serve! I added a tiny bit of turmeric to my rice, and BOOM. So pretty and yellow! I like rice, cabbage, naan….whatever I’m feeling like, with curry.This was GREAT. We had zero leftovers, and everyone commented on the lovely flavor.
This is a really nice baby-curry too, for folks who haven’t had Indian food before. It’s not spicy unless you want it to be, and the garam masala adds a nice flavor without being too intense. Great for folks who aren’t sure about the spice combos used here!
- 2 medium chicken breasts
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon each, cumin, coriander, and salt
- 1 half medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 fresh chili pepper, optional (for spice's sake), thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 inch grated or minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- rice, cabbage, and/or naan, your choice, for serving
- cilantro leaves, optional, for serving
- Sprinkle the chicken evenly on both sides with the cumin, coriander, and salt. Pour the yogurt over the chicken, and turn to coat. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.
- Preheat the broiler and arrange the oven rack 8 inches or so from the broiler. Place tin foil in a baking sheet, and a baking rack over the tin foil. Place the chicken on the rack, and broil for 15 minutes or so, turning once halfway through, until the chicken is blistered and slightly charred in places.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest. When slightly cool, tear into large chunks with your fingers or two forks.
- Add a pat of butter or a drizzle to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and let cook for 1 minute. Add the chili pepper and let cook for 3 more minutes until veggies are just starting to soften - and sizzle.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and garam masala to the veggies. Stir to coat, and let the veggies and spices toast for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes to the veggie mixture. Stir to warm through, then add the chicken and heavy cream. Taste the curry, and add more salt if you'd like. Let the curry simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, then serve as desired.
- Spice: I add a few shakes of cayenne pepper for extra heat - it's delicious!
- Make your rice yellow by adding 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric to the rice before cooking. It makes a very light flavor and a lovely color.