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How To Make Chicken Tikka Masala

We’re big fans of Chicken Tikka Masala, and luckily for all of us the good folks at Mirch Masala in Greenwich Village, NYC, have provided us with the following:

Mirch Masala is a fine Indian restaurant located in the prime Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Mirch, which means chilies, and masala, meaning mixed spices have been combined to serve a flavorsome ‘Mirch Masala’.

The restaurant’s executive chef, Gopal Singh, mastered the art of Indian cuisine before moving to the United States in 1990. After working in some of the best restaurants in the New York City area — and with over 30 years of varied experience in all aspects of the Indian kitchen — Gopal is an acclaimed and respected chef of traditional Indian food.

Known for his meticulous attention to detail, Gopal makes all the spice mixtures/masalas in-house.

Mirch Masala’s Recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala / CTM

The origin of ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’ or CTM is a matter of debate between all curry connoisseurs. British foreign secretary Robin Cook declared that ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’ is a true British national dish, saying that it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs external influences.

There are many recipes as every chef professes they have the original recipe.
Chicken Tikka Masala is a blend of 2 different methods of cooking; Chicken Tikka which is small pieces of marinated chicken cooked in a Tandoor or grilled is then sautéed in a thick tomato based gravy or Masala. Kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves gives the CTM its unique flavor.

The recipe below is by Chef/Partner Gopal Singh of Mirch Masala, New York:

Ingredients for tikka marinade:

I lb. Boneless cubes of chicken. (We use breast of chicken but majority of the restaurants use chicken thighs for added flavor)
2 table spoons Ginger-Garlic paste (equal amounts of ginger & garlic ground into paste)
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (Kashmiri red chilies gives it the crimson color)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup strained yogurt
½ teaspoon of garam masala powder (cloves, cardamoms, black pepper, bay leaves; we grind our own spices)
Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl mix all the ingredients using a whisk. Check for salt. Add chicken pieces. Mix well & cover and keep in refrigerator for 2 hrs.

Masala sauce Ingredients:

3 Crushed tomatoes or fresh ripe tomatoes
3 table spoon Tomato puree
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (add depending on your required spice level)
2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
½ tea spoon Jeera powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
1 table spoon cashew nut paste (boil 12/15 pcs of cashews nuts in as little water as possible. Cool & make a fine paste using the liquid from the boiled cashew nuts)
2 table spoons of butter
2 teaspoons oil
½ cup heavy cream
1 table spoon of kasoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
Minced cilantro or 1 teaspoon heavy cream for garnish

Cooking

1. Chicken tikka

Grill the chicken pieces on a grill, skillet or in a Tandoor (we grill it in a Tandoor/clay oven, the traditional way). Cook only till it is 75% done. Cut in to bite size pieces & keep aside.

2. Masala

In a deep sauce pot (thick tomato sauce will splutter, a deep pot is preferred) heat oil & ghee. Once the butter is melted add ginger garlic paste. Sauté till slightly browned, about 1 minute. Add all the powdered ingredients. Sauté for a minute without burning. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato puree and bring it to boil. Add a cup of water & keep simmering till the sauce exudes a thin layer of oil.

Cool & pour the sauce into a food processor or blender. (We use an immersion blender)Puree the sauce. Pour the sauce back to the deep sauce pot and bring it to a boil.
Add the grilled chicken & cook till the meat is well cooked, approximately 20 minutes.

Crush the fenugreek leaves using both your palms or using a rolling pin & add to the masala. Add heavy cream & turn off the heat. Check for salt. The great Chicken Tikka Masala is ready for service.

Portion it to serving bowls, garnish with either cilantro or a tea spoon of cream.

Serve with Basmati rice or Indian bread.

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Mirch Masala is located in New York City at 95 MacDougal Street (b/w 3rd Street & Bleecker). They can be reached at 212-777-2888 or contact@masalamac.com.

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