Chicken Tikka Masala

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I love curry. I love everything about it. It’s perfection.

I tried my first, proper curry while in London UK recording an album several years ago. It was legit life-changing. Full stop. Spicy, aromatic, jam-packed with exploding flavours. Incredible! I immediately fell in love with Indian cuisine. When I started cooking, the very first recipe I learned to make was a version of that exact dish – Chicken Tikka Masala.

This version takes that original deliciousness to a whole new level. Cooked on my Traeger Grill, it’s infused with smokey goodness. YES PLEASE!!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Makes 6 servings

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, finely diced

4 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground chili

1 ½ cups whole milk yoghurt

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips

3 tablespoons ghee (or clarified butter)

1 medium onion, finely diced

¼ cup finely diced cilantro stems

¼ cup tomato paste

6 cardamom pods, crushed

1 x 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 cups heavy (whipping) cream

1 – 2 sliced fresh chilies, for garnish

½ cup fresh cilantro, for garnish

1 cup creamy yoghurt

Cooked basmati rice, to serve (and for deliciousness)

  1. First up, prepare the spice mixture. Combine the garlic, ginger, and all the spices in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Marinade time! In a large bowl, combine the sliced chicken breast, yoghurt, ½ the spice mixture, and kosher salt, and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight. Marinated perfection. Best chicken ever.
  3. When ready to cook, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open, until a fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 450 degrees F and preheat with the lid closed (10 – 15 minutes).
  4. Sauce time! Heat a high-sided, oven-safe pan over medium-heat and melt the ghee. Add the onion, cilantro stems, cardamom, and a pinch of salt, and cook until the onion softens (5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and remaining spice mixture, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and season with another pinch of salt. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, until thickened beautifully.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, add the marinated chicken pieces to the grill and cook for 2 minutes per side, until just starting to turn to beautifully golden brown. Remove and set aside. Reduce the grill heat to 350 degrees F. Awesome. 
  6. Stir the cream into the sauce mixture, then fold in the chicken. Transfer the curry to the grill and cook, lid closed, for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the curry is thick and glorious.
  7. Divide the cooked basmati rice onto plates, then top with curry. Garnish with yoghurt, fresh chilies, and cilantro. Delicious!!!

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