I've been craving Indian food for the longest time. And while the origins of this dish may not truly be Indian according to some sources, I usually end up going to an Indian restaurant to get it, thus the association. With so many recipes online and so many cookbooks, it's hard to decide which recipe to try, especially when you're desperate to get it perfect on the first go! So I did a little research, found a few recipes that sounded promising, and proceeded to create a new one based on what sounded right from the few chosen. The end result- sheer deliciousness. While admittedly it different from the versions I've dreamt about from far off places, it was nice enough to satisfy my senses and leave me with a rounded belly. Behold, my chicken tikka masala.
I marinated about a pound and a half of chicken breast that was cut into cubes in a mixture of 1/2c. beaten plain yogurt, 2 tsp of fresh ginger and garlic paste, juice of half a lemon, 1 tsp each of coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, 2 tsp of cumin, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, some salt, and some green cardamom seeds. Let that sit in the fridge for an hour. I also wanted to have some potatoes in the mix, so I diced some potatoes and fried them to add in later.
For the gravy, I chopped up an onion finely, fried it in a mix of about 1 1/2 tbsp of oil and butter, with another tsp of ginger and garlic mashed up, and thin slices of one serrano pepper. When it all seemed to become one mixture, I added a few tbsp of tomato paste, a tbsp of chili powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, salt and black pepper, a pinch of paprika, 2 tsp of cumin and a little water. Mixed it up and let the sauce thicken, then added about a half cup of heavy cream. Then I added the potatoes and let them soak in the flavors on low heat. By then, the chicken was marinated long enough, so I pan fried that since we don't have a grill, and poured everything into the pot with the gravy and potatoes. Mixed it all up, let it simmer for about 10 minutes, and then it was ready to serve. I garnished it with a bit of freshly chopped cilantro. Yumminess.