Indian Feast (part do)

IMG_0990(MARINA) This rich creamy delight is THE chicken Tikka Masala, the mother of all chicken. I tried to savor it slowly but…no…I could barely speak it was soooooooo good. The touch-up I would make is to put paneer cheese (Indian cheese) into this recipe. This recipe is great for a warm bowl dish or housewarming party.

(KERI) BA’s recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala is so unbelievably good, I nearly told everyone at the table last night to ‘shhhh, be quiet. We shouldn’t talk while we experience this buttery, rich heaven.’ Seriously, I’ve been known to do it and seriously, it’s so darn good, it will leave you speechless. I don’t say such things unless it is absolutely true. M is right: it is the mother of all chicken and I promise: You make this and your friends and family will overflow with happiness. And that, after all, is the reason so many of us cook – to make the ones we love happy.

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Speaking of happy, let’s get back to the Tikka. The marinade for the chicken is what makes the bird so juicy. I’d suggest marinating it overnight. We love the method of broiling the chicken, then finishing it off in the sauce on the stovetop. It keeps the chicken moist and turns it a pretty red that peek-a-boos here and there once it’s in the sauce.

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You must serve the Tikka with Barefoot Contessa’s absolutely perfect basmati rice. Leave out the scallions and herbs and replace them with peas for this recipe. Plate the rice with the Tikka, then sprinkle it all with sliced almonds.

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We served it with purchased Naan bread. Slurp, chop-lick, and tummy-rubbing deliciousness. Now, we’re allowed to speak again. We’ve got leftovers for lunch.

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Chicken Tikka Masala from Bon Appetit

6 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
2 dried chiles de árbol or 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
Sliced almonds for garnish
Barefoot Contessa basmati rice

Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin 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 (we recommend overnight). Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.

Heat ghee 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 remaining half of 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 sprinkle with sliced almonds and cilantro sprigs.

DO AHEAD: Chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving.