Easy Chicken Meatball Tikka Masala with Coconut Rice

Tikka Masala is probably the most well known and commonly ordered dish in Indian restaurants in both American and Britain. Usually it is made with chucks of chicken, which have been grilled and then served in a masala or “mixture of spices.” Since there is no standard recipe and you can find just about any possible iteration of this dish, I thought I would change it up. I use lemon zest and spices to liven up chicken meatballs which are great all on their own but, when you add them to my Tikka Masala sauce they take on a new life in this creamy tomato sauce studded with an array of spices. You might think Tikka Masala is out of your scope when cooking but I promise I have made this so easy, it can be put together in 45 minutes.

I pair Coconut Rice made simply with coconut milk instead of water. The sweetness of the rice is so mild but makes ordinary rice, extraordinary.

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

for the meatballs

  • 1 lb ground chicken (turkey or lamb can also be substituted)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

for the Tikka Masala sauce

  • 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup cream (use heavy cream or it will separate)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala (found on the spice aisle of your grocery store)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (use Ghee if you can find it and then eliminate the 1 tbsp of oil noted above)

for the rice

  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 2 oz water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare the rice per the package instructions but use the coconut milk and water in place of only water. The ratio should be 1 cup rice to 14 oz coconut milk and 2 oz of water.
  2. Using your hands, mix the: chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cilantro together until well combined. Don’t over mix it or the meatballs will get tough. Form the mixture into 1 inch meatballs.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add meatballs and using 2 forks, gently turn them over as they brown so that all sides are browned. Removed the meatballs and set aside. They do not need to be fully cooked. They will poach in the sauce, which will fully cook them.
  4. Place pan back on the stove over high heat. Heat the oil and butter until it melts. Add the onions and sauté until tender (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic, garam masala, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir for 1 minute to “toast” the spices. Stir in the tomatoes and cream. Add back the meatballs and bring the sauce to a slow simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve the Tikka Masala over the rice.

© 2012, Nicole. All rights reserved.

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