I was looking up spices for a recipe that Lisa had made when it occurred to me that I had no go-to purveyor of delicious spices in New York. A quick Google search revealed that I worked only a few blocks from what turned out to be a most glorious spice shop that I cannot believe I’ve never been there! The spice shop is called Kalustyan’s and walking into the store, further and further into rooms and rooms of spices, I felt like I was in cooking heaven. It’s amazing that I didn’t run out of the store with more than one giant bag of things to cook and cook with, and I can’t wait to go back.
While perusing the aisles, one of the things that caught my eye was a “chicken tikka masala” spice blend. I’m not usually one for spice mixes (unless it’s to sprinkle over some weekday chicken or salmon, for which I recommend this array of options).
I thought I would give it a whirl in combination with a recipe I found on Bon Appetit, and the result transported us to an Indian restaurant. Matt’s request was that we try Lamb Vindalu next, so stay tuned, and maybe we’ll make it!
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 2.8 oz package Kaluystan’s Chicken Tikka Masala blend
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
Steamed basmati or jasmine rice (for serving)
Combine garlic and about 1/2 spice mix in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the other half of the spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs.
Serves about 4-5
Adapted from Bon Appetit Chicken Tikka Masala