i am a pretty boring cook. i make the same things over and over and over again and usually don't step out of the box as far as "types" of food. we eat mexican and italian, but my spice cupboard doesn't really do well with indian or asian or really anything besides things that call for garlic, onion, salt, pepper and the occasionally herbs and chili powder, but this changed for me tonight! i stepped out of box! i filled my spice cupboard a bit fuller and the result was AWESOME! it felt so nice to taste something i had made that didn't taste like EVERYTHING else that i make. the flavor profile was COMPLETELY different and it was refreshing. 
[the man] and i had Chicken Tikka Masala at a street fair on New Years eve and he asked if i could make it. you know me...willing to give anything i try said YES! i used Aarti Sequeira's recipe (adapted of course). I fell in love with her on the Next Food Network Star, but had never tried any of her recipes and now i can't wait to try more!
I served this with Basmati rice and sauteed kale on the bottom (this was just to add some more vegetables to our plate. it would taste better without it, but it was nice to have some greens).


(my changes are in bold)



1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
3 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger and 3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, and cut into large bite-sized chunks

(i had roasted a chicken a few days back and so i used roasted shredded chicken instead of marinating and grilling. this made the recipe easier because my chicken was already cooked. it tasted great as well, but i am sure grilled marinated chicken would just be that much better if you have the time to prepare it that way)

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 6 cloves garlic and 2-inch thumb ginger minced) (because i did not grill and marinade my meat, i didn't make the paste, but rather just used the garlic and minced ginger)
2 serrano peppers, minced (seeds removed if you don't want it spicy) (i used one jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed, it had the perfect amount of spice for me. i couldn't find serranos.)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 cups water
Oil, for grilling
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional) (i didn't use the fenugreek leaves)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish (garnished with cilantro, but [the man] said he would have preferred it without, i personally liked it.)
Cooked rice, naan, or crusty piece of bread, for serving


For the marinade: In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator up to overnight.

For the sauce: When you're ready to make the curry, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the Ginger-Garlic Paste and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato has darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and the paprika and saute for about 1 minute to draw out their flavors.

Add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. You may need more water depending on how much liquid the tomatoes give off.

Meanwhile, fire up your grill. When it is nice and hot, lightly brush it with oil. Place the chicken on the grill, shaking off some of the excess marinade. Cook until it's charred, about 2 minutes on each side. (Don't worry that the chicken will still be a little uncooked, it finishes cooking in the sauce).

Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Pour back into the skillet and bring back up to a boil. Add the chicken and fenugreek leaves, if using. Take the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes (only cooked for about 5 because my chicken didn't need any further cooking). Add the cream and stir through. Garnish with minced fresh cilantro, and serve over rice, with naan, or a crusty piece of bread! 

Ginger-Garlic Paste:

1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup canola oil

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste.

Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc. We always had a jar of this stuff in our fridge growing up.
(recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/chicken-in-creamy-tomato-curry-chicken-tikka-masala-recipe2/index.html)



  2. This sounds good. One would like to try, what is garam masala? Thank you, +6Annalee

    1. it is a spice blend you can find at an indian market or some grocery stores that have a well stocked spice section. if you can not find it, it is possible to make your own. here is a link to a recipe for it. ENJOY!