Chicken Tikka Masala (vegetarian option)

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I shared a Massaman curry dish on here a few months back, and this is another Indian or Thai-type dish that we love and make regularly. We serve this with the same Indian Rice and Naan that I posted with that other recipe as well.

When we go out to Indian restaurants, I usually order the Paneer(cheese) Tikka Masala. It’s basically cubes of paneer, this white soft cheese, in a red, cream sauce. I love it! Scott likes to order the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Butter Chicken. They are similar, though the butter chicken usually has more veggies and sometimes cashews and raisins. I would sometimes reach over with my fork and grab some of his veggies and nuts and add them to my masala, and that’s how this dish came about. It’s a combination of our favorite Indian dishes :).

In a large stir fry pan over medium heat add your coconut oil.  Add cubed chicken and raw chopped veggies.

You can use a variety of veggies. I like you to all different colors so I have some yellow and red bell peppers, white and red onion, orange carrots, and many times I’ll have cubed sweet potato. The golden raisins and cashews we’ll set aside and add once the sauce is ready.

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Stir and cook chicken until it’s no longer pink, adding a little water at a time as needed so the veggies and chicken do not scorch. If you’re not cooking with chicken, then just cook the veggies until they’ve softened up a little, for about 5 minutes.

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Add coconut milk  and/or cream(I’ve used one and both and a mixture of the two and love them all…usually I do 1 can coconut milk and the rest cream), tikka paste or other curry paste if you can’t find Tikka at your grocery store, and bring to a boil.

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When my local grocery store is out of Tikka paste, I’ll often substitute in one of these, or a combination of the two. And I’ve even had a little bit of Tikka left in my fridge so I combined that with the others and it all tastes great, my kids can’t even notice a difference.

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Here is our boiling sauce.Turn the heat down to low, add nuts and raisins, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little. Taste, then add red pepper flakes, stir and taste again to see if it’s as hot or mild as you’d like. If too spicy, add more milk/cream, if not spicy enough, add more red pepper flakes, about 1/8 tsp at a time. The veggies will continue to soften as the sauce simmers.

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Serve over Indian Rice and with Naan Bread.

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THE RECIPE:

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

1 Tbsp coconut oil
optional: 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, uncooked, cubed
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 med-large white or yellow onion, sliced
optional: 1 c sweet potato, cubed
1/4-1/2 c water
2 cans coconut milk (or 1 can and 1 1/2 c heavy cream)
4 Tbsp Tikka paste
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c whole cashews
optional: 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (can do a little more or less or not at all, depending on how you like it. We like a ‘medium spice’ and that’s what this 1/4 tsp gives you.

In a large stir fry pan over medium heat add coconut oil.  Add cubed chicken and raw chopped veggies. Stir and cook chicken until no longer pink, adding a little water at a time as needed so the veggies and chicken do not scorch. Add coconut milk  and/or cream, tikka paste or other curry paste, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, add nuts and raisins, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little. Taste, then add red pepper flakes, stir and taste again to see if it’s as hot or mild as you’d like. If too spicy, add more milk/cream, if not spicy enough, add more red pepper flakes, about 1/8 tsp at a time. Serve over Indian Rice and with Naan Bread.

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