We at Marinated (ok, just me) love pushing boundaries. In fact, it's all I ever do. Being raised on Italian-American comfort foods put me in a bubble when I started cooking. But after I moved away from home and realized there was more to life than meatloaf, my tastebuds thanked me.
My favorite of the various ethnic cuisines is easily Indian. Chicken Tikka Masala is my jam and my jam's jam. That's why, when I first conceived this blog idea, my lovely roommate and occasional food photographer Zoë came up with the idea of Chicken Tikka Masala as my first dish almost immediately. But then my face fell in confusion. I almost gave up on the spot. I knew absolutely nothing about how it was made. All I could work from was the knowledge that most Indian dishes are cooked for hours upon hours with spices only remotely known to American grocery stores.
But then I remembered that this was the whole point of this blog! I needed to tackle it no matter how daunting I believed it to be. I thought about it for a few days and realized it didn't have to be traditional. At Marinated, we throw tradition out of the window and into the sea after we've tied it to a heavy rock. Ultimately I came up with a dish that is simple, uses few ingredients, and is adaptable in kitchens without Indian culinary tools. So here we go!
Chicken Tikka Masala
5 boneless chicken tenders/breasts
1/4 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 can diced tomatos
1 can tomato paste
Half a red onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs curry
1/2 Tbs paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbs parsley
1/2 Tbs red chili flakes
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
A pinch of ginger
Salt and pepper, to taste
Start by roughly dicing up your garlic and onions and tossing into a medium sized bowl. Dice up your little chickens and toss them into the same bowl.
In that bowl, add the coconut cream, heavy cream, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Mix it all together but be gentle and careful to not rip any chicken pieces in the process. Proceed to add all the spices, salt, & pepper. If you know you like a particular spice more so than another, you can totally add more. I added a bit more red chili flakes because yum. You have free reign over the spices. Go nuts. You're welcome.
Mix all of this soon-to-be deliciousness together. Try not to eat it yet, you weirdo. Put this mixture into a bowl or a container that can be sealed tightly. You can use a tupperware or a bowl with some strategically placed foil or plastic wrap. I used the latter. Keep this mixture in the fridge for at least a day. I kept it in there for two whole days. Patience is a virtue here, trust me.
After you so eagerly waited on your perfectly marinating masala, preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Oh yeah people, we're going low and slow here. More waiting. I'm sorry. Put the chicken mixture into a baking dish and cover with foil. Once your oven reaches temperature, stick the chicken in there for two hours and leave it alone.
Side note: this is going to be SUPER HOT once you take it out, so please resist dipping your spoon in to taste it immediately after pulling it out of the oven. Learn from my mistakes. Please. It's going to be hard to resist.
Now for the Basmati Rice:
It really doesn't matter how you do this. I bought a package of Wild Basmati rice from Trader Joes. It took a bit of time for the rice to finally become tender so I suggest beginning to cook it while the masala is in the oven. I'm pretty sure they sell instant Basmati too and I promise it won't be sacrilegious of you to use it.
Now that your Chicken Tikka Masala and rice are done, you can actually eat it!