Traditionally, Chicken Tikka Masala is marinated in a yogurt blend to tenderize the chicken. I didn’t have any on hand, so I made do without and the finished product tasted so authentic and delish! When I was at the farmer’s market the last time, I picked up a box of Chicken Tikka spice mix— normally I always mix my own spice mixes, but this looked so, well, authentic, I decided to give it a shot.
So glad I did! If you make your own mix, there are a ton of recipes out there— it’s usually a blend of cumin, coriander, ginger, mint, garam masala, paprika, chili powder and garlic powder. I did a little research on the origin of Chicken Tikka Masala, (I used to be news reporter, so color me curious!) and this is an interesting tid bit from the Food Detective’s Diary:
To fathom the extraordinary fable of Chicken Tikka Masala, we should travel to 5000 years ago when tandoor clay ovens were invented. Locals were beginning to raise chickens at the same time and realized both made an awesome combination. But the small bite sized pieces which we now call ‘Tikka’ came into existence- thanks to the nitpicking of an emperor, Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty in South Asia was so sick (or afraid) of choking on the chicken bones, he ordered his Punjabi chefs to remove the bones before cooking the meat in the tandoor. The resulting delicacy was called – Joleh, Persian for Tikka.
I squeezed the juice of 4 lemons, mixed with the spice mix, added a few squeezes of ginger and garlic paste from my favorite Gourmet Garden products and cut up an onion. Then, I sealed it all in a ziploc and let it marinate for 3 hours. Boom.
You could skewer the chicken and grill it, but #aintnoonegottimeforthat so I threw those bad boys on my stove top skillet and in 10 minutes they were done. That fast, that perfect! I served it with some roasted potatoes and asparagus— my man was HAPPY. And so am I, to share the recipe with you!
- 1 package of Chicken Tikka Masala spice mix (or make your own-- about 1/4 cup of spices total)
- 1 package of boneless chicken tenders
- juice of 4 lemons
- 1 onion cut up
- 2 Tb fresh ginger (I use the fresh paste from Gourmet Gardens)
- 2 Tb fresh garlic (paste from Gourmet Gardens)
- 1 Tb butter
- 1 Tb canola oil
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
- Mix marinade ingredients together and coat chicken. Place in a ziploc baggie and chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
- If using a grill pan, heat up the butter and oil on medium high heat.
- Add the chicken but don't crowd the pan.
- Cook for 5 minutes on each side.
- Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.