Chicken/Tofu Tikka Masala

One of my all-time favorite dishes and one of my first original recipes (original in that I tried out many a recipe before settling on some sort of frankenstein of them all that made my tastebuds jump for joy). The key to this dish is patience. Patience to let the marinade infuse its magic into the chicken/tofu and patience for the create and tomato sauce to fuse harmoniously. But all that patience is worth the delicious creation at the end!
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Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 c yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • Or: instead of chicken, one package of extra firm tofu cut into large cubes

Main Dish

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger and salt.
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  3. Stir in chicken/tofu. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
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  5. Preheat grill to high heat.
  6. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread the chicken on skewers and discard the marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. If using tofu, do not use skewers and grill for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Instead of grilling, you can also pan fry the chicken/tofu until cooked, discarding the marinade.
  7. Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  8. Sauté garlic for 1 minute. Add 2 tsp cumin, paprika, and salt and sauté for another minute.
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  10. Stir in tomato sauce and heavy cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.
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  12. Add grilled chicken/tofu and simmer for 10 minutes.
  13. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with naan.