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Chicken Tikka Masala

Britain's most popular national dish is now chicken tikka masala, an entrée of oven-roasted chicken in a creamy tomato sauce widely served in Indian restaurants, the British foreign secretary proclaimed in a speech in April, 2001. 

6 Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs / Breasts cut into 1 inch pieces (Thighs are preferred for this dish)
Salt to taste
1 Teaspoon Red chili powder
4 to 6 Tablespoons Lemon juice
1 table spoon Butter for basting

For the marinade
6 to 8 Tablespoons Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Heavy cream (optional)
2 Teaspoons Ginger paste
2 Teaspoons Garlic Paste
1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
1 to 2 teaspoons Garam masala / Curry Powder
1/4th  teaspoon Saffron (optional)
Red and Orange food color a few drops each

Make deep incisions in the chicken with a knife, approximately 2 to 3 inches apart. Make a paste of the salt, red chili powder and lemon juice and rub over the chicken evenly. Keep aside for 15 minutes. Wash hands immediately. Whisk the yogurt in a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Rub the chicken with this mixture. Keep aside for 20 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Skewer the chicken on a skewer. Keep a tray underneath to collect the drippings. Bake in the oven for 20 to 35 minutes. Remove the chicken and baste with butter. 

Grill on a hot grill for another 10 minutes till golden brown. This step is optional, but will definitely flavor the dish.

For the gravy
2 Tomatoes chopped fine.
1 medium onions chopped fine.
1 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/2 tsp. Cumin pwd
1/2 tsp. Coriander pwd
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 th cup of milk

Heat the oil, when hot add the ginger garlic paste and sauté till golden brown. Add the onions; sauté till golden brown in color on medium high. It is the caramelization of the onions that brings the rich soft aroma and flavor to the dish. Add the tomatoes and keep sautéing till the oil starts to separate. This should take another 5-8 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander powders. Sauté for a few seconds.  Now add the cooked chicken pieces. Sauté for a few more minutes. Tired of sautéing…That ‘s the trick to make your recipe turn out great. So don’t quit now.  Add the salt and sugar, increase the heat and slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly. Let the chicken simmer on low for another 5-9 minutes. Garnish with Chopped cilantro leaves and fried cashews.

Serve on a bed of plain rice. Enjoy with lemon wedges and raw "red onion rings" soaked in vinegar and the mint chutney.

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