My brother, Lyndon, and his wife, Amanda, came to visit this summer, and they made all kinds of awesome food. Amanda really loves to cook, too, and she’s awesome at it. One night, her and Lyndon made Tikka Masala, aaaaannd I was freakin’ out. It was SO good.
So flavorful. So saucy. Perfectly spicy. Did I mention flavorful? Because the flavor was on point, people. So obviously I told them I was going to steal the idea and make up a Tikka Masala recipe for the blog. One thing I really love that they did with their Tikka Masala was add peas! There are probs some authentic Indian people reading this right now and absolutely cringing…I know, I know, I knooow that peas aren’t authentic in the slightest, BUT they add a nice pop of freshness and make it a little bit healthier! I always love finding ways to incorporate veggies into various recipes, so I was all about dem peas.
I’m sorry, all of you authentic Indian food eaters out there. Can I apologize by bringing you a plate of Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls? And then we can be friends even though I’m adding a totally non-traditional ingredient to a famous Indian dish?
Anyway, since they fed me this delicious bowl of saucy goodness, I have been playing around with various renditions of this classic dish. The main thing I was trying to accomplish was creating a sauce sans heavy cream. Heavy cream really isn’t the healthiest of items…to say the least…despite the BOSS flavor and richness it adds to any dish.
I tried a few different things, one of which being coconut milk as a substitute. None of the renditions were bad, but they didn’t even touch the sauces that used heavy cream. So I finally caved and decided to give in on this one. I did knock it down from heavy cream to half and half, though! Which is still mind blowingly delicious, AND, even with the half and half, each serving only has 370 calories. Coming from someone who tried the healthier alternatives, I’m tellin’ ya…half and half is the way to go here, friends.
There are so many elements to this recipe that are so beautiful and perfect 😍😍😍:
- The sauce: this is a very saucy dish. It’s not the type of situation where the sauce just coats the meat. Oh no. It’s a sauce party up in here. There needs to be a ton of sauce so that it can soak into all your rice and make the entire thing a flavor vacation for yo taste buds…nah mean? You’ll be very happy with the amount of sauce – the sauce is the best part.
- Super tender chicken: the chicken marinates in a delicious yogurt, garlic, ginger, and spice mixture for several hours, giving it TONS of flavor and juiciness. And then we quick saute it in a skillet, set it aside, and finish simmering it in the sauce for a little bit. Are you drooling all over your computer right now? IF YOU’RE NOT, YOU SHOULD BE.
- The color = the most gorgeous color ever. The mixture of tomato sauce and half and half leaves you with a beautiful pink color that just makes you want to dive head first into the bowl. It is the most appetizing thing EVER – in appearance and flava-flave.
I know I mentioned the sauce and how much of it there is in this dish (❤️), but we should also talk about how you whip that magic together, since it really is the star here. It is actually super easy to make; saute garlic, shallot, jalapeno and several different spices together, add your tomato sauce, add your half and half, and you’re done! See? Easy peasy. It’s way too easy for the crazy amount of flavor you get out of it….