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.
The beautiful color of this sauce reminds me of something that happened last night. I have told you before about my morbid obsession with Target, and my RIDICULOUS lack of ability to not spend approximately three thousand dollars every time I walk through those welcoming red doors, right? Target has this weird power over me that forces me to buy SUPER random stuff that I have absolutely zero need for. I think they put some type of fume through the AC vents that hypnotizes the customers into buying everything…everything.
Anyway, I was there last night to pick up a prescription, I was walking down the aisle, and I saw a clearance section. It hooked me, so I went over to check things out, and they had several really cool aprons on sale for seven bucks. Literally I have never worn an apron IN MY LIFE and feel no need to own one, but for some reason, I just saw that apron and was like, “Yep. Need it. Done.”
At least it was only seven dollars…Seth came home to me wearing an apron and onion goggles while prepping chili for a pot luck the next day. He laughed at me. I probably deserved it.
So I was making the chili, wearin’ my apron, feelin’ pretty legit, etc…The chili was done and sitting on the stove to cool off a bit, so I took off my apron and we chilled for a while. A little bit later, I transferred the chili to a crock pot so I could bring that to school the next day, and in the process of transferring the chili, COVERED my white shirt with a billion little red spots from chili splatters.
My new impulse buy apron was sitting a few feet away. I found this situation to be quite ironic. Not only was the purchase super random and not needed in the first place, but for the two seconds that an apron would actually come in handy, it was laying across a chair several feet away from me.
COOL. I blame you, Target. I don’t know how…but I blame you.
This sauce is gorgeous, but don’t let it splatter on you and ruin your white shirt like the chili ruined mine ?.
- 2 chicken breasts
- For the marinade:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- For the sauce:
- 1 jalapeno - ribs and seeds removed (leave them in if you want more spice), finely minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup half and half
- ½ cup frozen peas (optional)
- Dice your chicken breasts into bite size cubes and add to a ziplock bag or a bowl
- To the chicken, add your Greek yogurt, garlic, ginger, spices (garam masala, cumin, coriander), and salt/pepper. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour, preferably several
- When your chicken is done marinating, heat a large skillet over medium high heat with some olive oil
- Add your chicken and saute until it is just cooked through - it shouldn't take long (don't worry if there's still a little pink in the middle, we simmer it in the sauce later)
- Set your chicken aside to a plate and add your shallot, garlic, and jalapeno to the same skillet along with a little bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper
- Saute until the veggies have softened, and add your spices (garam masala, cumin, and coriander). Stir to combine
- Cook this for about a minute, and add your tomato sauce
- Stir this and let it simmer for a minute or two before adding your half and half
- Stir in your half and half and add your chicken back into the sauce. Add your frozen peas at this point as well (peas are optional)
- Let the chicken simmer for a few minutes or until it is fully cooked through
- Serve the Tikka Masala over rice (I used brown jasmine rice)
Time needed to marinate the chicken is not included in total recipe time since that will vary per person.
Nutrition info is for one cup of Tikka Masala – rice not included.
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy chicken recipes? Check these out: