Prep 4 hrs 10 mins
Cook 50 mins
Entered for safe-keeping, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats, touted as "The Best Chicken Tikka Masala". Adapted somewhat. He gives 2 ways to finish cooking: on the grill or under the broiler. He recommends pulsing the peeled ginger and garlic in a food processor instead of box-grating them. Can't wait to try this! He recommends bone-in chicken because the meat (especially breasts) is less likely to overcook. For best taste, toast whole seeds and then grind in a spice-dedicated coffee grinder. Preparation time includes 4 hours for marination.
- 5 lbs bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed (breasts, legs or a mix)
- 3 tablespoons toasted ground cumin (whole seed toasted, then ground to yield 3 Tbsp.)
- 3 tablespoons toasted paprika
- 2 tablespoons toasted ground coriander (whole seed toasted, then ground to yield 2 Tbsp.)
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon indian red chili powder
- 8 garlic cloves, grated on the medium holes of a box grater
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated on the medium holes of a box grater (about 2 inches of gingerroot)
- 2 cups yogurt
- 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
- 1⁄4 cup kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons ghee or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons garlic, grated (or crushed)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (about 2 inches fresh gingerroot, peeled and grated)
- 28 ounces whole canned tomatoes, roughly mashed
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro leaf, and tender stems roughly chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄4 cup lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
- 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 cups cooked rice (or as desired) (optional)
- 6 pieces grilled naan bread (optional)
- Place the chicken pieces on a cutting board with flesh-side up. Score deeply at 1-inch intervals with a sharp knife. Pat dry and place in a large rimmed non-reactive baking dish.
- Combine cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside 3 tablespoons of spice mixture (for Step 10).
- Combine remaining 6 tablespoons of spice mixture, 8 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons ginger, yogurt, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine (or process all in food processor).
- Pour marinade all over chicken pieces, using hands to coat every surface. Cover loosely and refrigerate. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat ghee or butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until melted and foaming subsides.
- In clean food processor, pulse garlic to yield 4 tablespoons (or crush in a garlic press). Remove excess of garlic from food processor and add about 2 inches fresh gingerroot cut in small chunks, and pulse until finely grated.
- Add onions and garlic-ginger mix to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring frequently, until dark and beginning to char in spots, about 10 minutes.
- Add reserved spice mixture from Step 3. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan with a spoon.
- Simmer sauce for 15 minutes, then puree using a hand blender or by transferring to a tabletop blender in batches. (If you use a VitaMix, you will not need to allow the sauce to cool off first.)
- Stir in cream and remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, then set aside until chicken is cooked.
- TO COOK ON THE GRILL:.
- Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all of the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of a coal grate.
- Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes.
- Clean and oil the grilling grate. (I recommend a GrillGrate.).
- Wipe excess marinade off chicken and place over hot side of grill, flesh-side down.
- Grill without moving until well charred, 5-7 minutes.
- Flip chicken and cook until second side is charred, 4-5 minutes. (Chicken will not be completely cooked through, which is okay). Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest 10 minutes.
- TO COOK UNDER THE BROILER:.
- Line a broiler pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and preheat the broiler to high with the rack set 6 inches below broiler element.
- Wipe excess marinade off chicken and place on foil-lined pan, flesh side up. Broil until charred an blackened on surface, about 8 minutes (but if you have a professional oven broiler, it may take much less time). (Chicken will not be completely cooked through, which is okay.) Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken from bone using a sharp knife and cut into rough bite-sized chunks.
- Transfer chicken chunks to pot of sauce.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves.
- Serve immediately with rice or grilled naan.