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Throwdown's Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves: 4 to 6

Chicken Tikka
2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground fennel
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground chile de arbol or cayenne powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup melted ghee

1.Whisk together the yogurt, spices, garlic and ginger in a large baking dish. Add the chicken and turn to coat in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. 
2. Preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and brush with some of the ghee. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and wipe off excess marinade. Brush the breasts with ghee and season both sides with salt and pepper and place on the baking sheet in an even layer. Broil until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. 3. Remove the chicken from the heat and place on a cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes and cut into 1-inch thick slices. 

Basmati Rice Pilaf with Peas
Serves: 4

1 ½ cups basmati rice 
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 ¼ teaspoons black mustard seeds
½ cup finely diced yellow onion 
6 cardamom pods 
4 whole cloves 
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick 
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
¾ cup frozen green peas 

1. Put the rice in a mesh strainer and rinse with cold water several times. Set aside and let drain.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they just begin to pop, about 20 seconds. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, rice, 2 ¼ cups of simmering water, salt and pepper and lime juice, and bring to a boil. 3. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed. Fold in peas. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 8 to minutes longer. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes uncovered. Remove and discard cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon and fluff with a fork. 

Masala Sauce
2 tablespoons ghee or canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 serrano chile, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, pureed until smooth
¼ - ½ teaspoon chile de arbol or cayenne powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup heavy cream
Chopped cilantro leaves
1 red onion, cut into thin rings and soaked in ice water

1. Heat the ghee in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and cook until soft and lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger, serrano and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, paprika, garam masala and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, cayenne and ½ cup of water and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thicken. 
2. Add the heavy cream to the sauce, bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken to the sauce and cook for a few minutes, just to heat through. Serve over basmati rice pilaf and garnish with cilantro leaves. 

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