I’ve been randomly jonesing hard for Indian food lately, and though I was a little intimidated, I decided to make chicken masala and naan yesterday. I had been dreaming of/planning to make this beautiful hybrid of lamb and scalloped potatoes (two of my all time favorite things) but I felt needed some spice in my life. So off to the Co-op for garam masala. I kind of used this recipe for the chicken, but it’s a “marinate overnight” kind of deal, which I didn’t do, and it was marvy. The chicken was not so difficult, just spices, yogurt, pots and pans, blah blah blah… one doesn’t need to be Indian (…or British?) to master the masala. But naan, naan seemed like it could be difficult. Yeast things always scare me… I was never allowed to touch anything in chemistry class after I broke a record number of beakers and caught weird chemicals on fire. But. It turned out pretty well! Not as light as real live naan, but yummy! The first two turned out as little dough pucks, and I realized you have to kind of do the pizza parlor trick with the dough, flip it around and stretch it out a lot. To go with the whole deal I also made these “Moroccan” carrots, which went perfectly with everything. It was all so yummy. Warm and creamy and spicy. Wiping up the sauce with naan… heaven. And probably the most fragrant dinner in the state, everything smelled so cozy and spicy and delicious. Masala candles… ginger garlic Febreze… there may be a market there.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from “What’s Cooking, Chicago?” …Adapted from Entertaining: Cook’s Illustrated Spring 2009

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Chicken spices:

I had to make three batched to cover all the chicken… so I’ve tripled the measurements.
3 teaspoon ground cumin
3 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons table salt

Yogurt marinade:

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 medium garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon grated (it’s really hard to grate ginger. I gave up and just minced it up) fresh ginger

Masala Sauce:
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine
2 medium garlic cloves , minced
2 teaspoons grated (minced…) fresh ginger
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
4 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream

Combine all the spices for the chicken and cover each piece completely. Let the pieces marinate for an hour-ish. Mix together the yogurt, ginger, and garlic, and cover the chicken with it, then let it all marinate in the fridge again for a couple hours.

To make the sauce, heat oil in a dutch oven and onion and cook until light golden, then garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and garam masala. Stir and cook for five+ minutes then add the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Cover it, turn down the heat, and simmer for a while.

Turn on the oven broiler and cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Chicken onto the tray, onto the top rack for 8ish minutes, flip the chicken and cook for about 8 more minutes, till its browning a little. While the chicken is cooking mix the cream in the the sauce. Then when the chicken is done put it into the sauce, and it’s ready!

I simplified the chicken masala recipe quite a bit… but did exactly what the naan recipe said. Stretching out the dough is crucial though, unless you enjoy weird doughy bread pucks. And the carrot recipe was easy peasy, butter/oil, carrots, spices, done.

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