You know, I am actually quite marveled at how effortlessly beautiful my chicken tikka masala is, finally.
Okay, I did mess with the chicken things (maybe more than just once), fyi. But it turns out the masses are right this time – you couldn’t possibly ever go wrong with Indian cuisine.
Is Chicken Tikka Masala Indian?
To many people, it might be quite an astonishing fact that though sounding so Indian-ish, Chicken tikka masala has actually been acknowledged as “The true natural dish of Britain” for decades. Though the origin of Chicken tikka masala is still in dispute, this is pretty much what I heard about the time:
Back in the 17th century, the flourishing state of cultivation witnessed the true growth of breeding farms. Tons of chicken dishes came onto the family table as a result, including chicken tikka.
Not until much later – during British rule, to be specific – British cuisine also adopted the dish. But it’s only after the 1950s that chicken tikka officially travelled almost 5000 miles to go viral in the UK and on local plates.
Carry on to 1960s, a British chef decided to add yoghurt, more spices, and even tomato just to simply prevent dryness. The dish turned out, unintentionally though, to be an even more astonishing entrée. That was also when it was finally westernized to “Chicken Tikka Masala”.
What is the masala sauce?
Tikka masala sauce is a tomato, spice, and cream-based sauce and is pretty much identical to curry in general. The sauce is flavored with diverse types of herbs and spices to pull out an inimitable hot yellow color and spicy aroma for the finish.
The tomato sauce–heavy cream ratio also worths a heed here, as this is what decides the overall color and consistency of the Masala sauce. So, throw it in whichever way you wish, it’s all about personal preference, after all.
What is the difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala?
Chicken tikka masala and butter chicken may be the two possibly most mistaken staples, as they both share resemblances in the tomato sauce base and spices altogether.
Both dishes are Indian-inspired. But if you’re frequently present at authentic food stores and restaurants in town, then there are still a few differences to break down.
Butter chicken is a curried meal and is surely more creamy in most cases. The word “butter” actually refers to the fatty, greasy mouthfeel it leaves. There’s no butter involved.
Chicken tikka masala, on the other hand, is like a true weave of spices and dried herbs. So yes, it’s definitely more zesty, tangy, and intense in taste.
While chicken tikka masala is boneless (and could also be sometimes skinless), butter chicken is originally processed with bones. Though, as time flies, many variations have been presented, and bones have not mattered that much anymore.
Is chicken tikka healthy?
Packed with lean protein, chicken breasts – even grilled – are sure to be an ally for literally every one of your shedding-a-few-more-pounds plans. And Chicken Tikka, too, is not an exception. It’s still your demanding lean and white meat dish, but a few more times appetizing and divinely mind-boggling.
3 ounces of skinless boneless chicken breasts (as used in this recipe) only have more than 100 calories and 19 grams of dietary protein. As protein is an ultimate metabolism booster, your body will naturally burn more extra calories whenever protein is digested.
What are other choices for a side dish?
Okay, so, I was circling around with chicken tikka masala to see if there was a missing spot somewhere – and much enough, I finally can carry out this lil one-stop shop of side dishes.
To be roughly listed:
Bread is really the ingenious choice as it could sync up so well with chicken tikka masala. Below are the popular ones I found online regarding Indian-ish breads.
- Vegetable Samosas: a brilliant snack made from crispy baked pastry with veggies filling.
- Papadum: delectable thin, crisp, disc-shaped flatbread.
- Naan Bread (and with multiple flavors, of course)
- Chapatti Wraps
Not much different than bread, rice itself is already among the most adaptable everytime someone needs a basic side. The names should be Pilou Rice, Basmati Rice, or Jeera Rice.
People are said to prefer these, but I myself would take the liberty and suggest you to go with any rice you prefer. It’ll be just lovely the same way, you have my word.
Mango Lassi or Masala Chai Tea are the most favored of all. Since there’s a mango yogurt smoothie, I assume any smoothie could not be an inch less gratifying.
Just grab anything fresh and cool, and the final perfect box for your meal is checked. All good.
If you’re a fan of chicken dishes like me, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this chicken shawarma recipe. Be sure to also pay a visit to our best chicken recipes, too. I hope you’ll have a good time cooking. Until next time!
How to make Chicken Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
For the chicken breasts:
- 9 oz skinless boneless chicken breast 1 1/2 medium, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp olive oil to coat
For the Masala sauce:
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1/3 tsp garlic 1/2 clove, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 8 oz Hunt's no salt added tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup half and half
- Combine all the ingredients for the chicken breasts that have been listed above (except for the cooking oil) into a large bowl. Stir them all together until the chicken breasts are well marinated.
- Let your chicken sit still in at least 1 hour afterwards, but yes, I’ll always suggest you to leave it overnight in the fridge if possible. The flavor will sure be much more bursting.
Step 1. Grill chicken:
- Oil the grill grate with oil, then preheat the grill in high heat.
- Thread chicken pieces onto skewers. I had 4 pieces on each skewer. Depends on your skewers’ length, you should dispose your chicken in a rational way.
- Grill with the heat of 500 degrees F in the oven.
Step 2. Make the sauce:
- Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens (about 20 minutes).
- Add grilled chicken and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 3. Serve:
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro. There, you're done.