Are yuh guys Chicken Tikka fans? I can’t resist that orange, creamy, tomato-y sauce, fragrant with warm Indian spices, myself. And further, I simply could not resist the idea of Chicken Tikka pizzas when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light. Here’s how it turned out.
One of the defining methods of Chicken Tikka Masala preparation is marinating chicken in yogurt. In this case, I tossed chicken cutlet halves in plain Greek yogurt, along with garam masala (an amazing blend of Indian spices that is quite easy to find at grocery stores – also great on roasted chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash), and seasoned with salt. Cooking was done quickly under high heat, by placing my baking sheet under the broiler for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once, halfway through.
Meanwhile I worked on the most important element of the dish – that killer tomato sauce. I placed a can of drained diced tomatoes in my mini food processor, and blended until almost smooth. Note I said DRAINED tomatoes. No runny sauces on my tikka pizza, please.
Soggy pitas: ain’t nobody got time fo dat.
Separately, I measured out some spices and such, including garlic, fresh ginger, ground red cayenne pepper, and more garam masala.
To a heated pan with 1 T oil, add the spices and cook for one minute. This “opens them up,” or something. I don’t know. Just do it. Don’t burn them though. One minute is literally 60 seconds here, mmkay? Then add in those tomatoes. FINALLY.
Then a couple tablespoons of heavy cream. Okay fine, I used half-and-half. No one wants to buy heavy cream to use two tablespoons’ worth. Then what? You gonna whip that shiz up and make whipped cream? Uh, no. With half-and-half I can use the rest in my coffee. And it’s fine. Just don’t use milk because that would be weird.
Oh heck yeah, now we are talking. Remember that cooked chicken? Cut it up, but try not to burn your off your fingerprints when you do it, like me. Surprise: chicken is hot when you pull it out from beneath the broiler. Get some utensil action in there. Then you’re going to toss it all around in that magic sauce. Culinary master.
Plop that sauce chicken atop four pitas that have been slightly toasted in the broiler beforehand, add mozzarella cheese and sliced red onions, and then place under the broiler again, for just a few minutes, until the cheese gets all bubbly ‘n’ stuff.
So that was not bad, right?
If you’re particularly keen on cilantro, or just want some more color on there, add some cilantro leaves atop your pizza. The huz isn’t a huge fan and I wasn’t cooking anything else with cilantro this week, so I opted to not buy and use cilantro for this dish.
This pizza was such a fun mix-up on Chicken Tikka Masala and pizza. The tomato sauce was good stuff! My only critique is that I would double the cheese next time. I appreciate that Cooking Light keeps cheese portions in check and I usually adhere to their suggestions in the name of balanced eating, but in this case I really would have enjoyed more mozzarella cheese. Regardless, these Chicken Tikka Pizzas were de-lish.
Try ‘em out if you’re looking for a new and unique way to prepare chicken! You could use paneer instead of chicken to make this dish vegetarian. (Paneer + mozzarella – double cheeeese! That would be yum.)
Chicken Tikka Pizzas
Recipe from Cooking Light (Light alterations made to recipe)
- 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
- Cooking spray
- 5/8 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 4 (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas
- 1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
- 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup) [or more, to if you prefer]
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves [optional]
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Cut chicken in half horizontally. Combine chicken, yogurt, and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Broil 5 minutes on each side.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Place tomatoes in a mini chopper; pulse until almost smooth. Add oil to pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala, ginger, red pepper, and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; simmer 4 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and cream; cook 1 minute. Cut chicken into pieces. Add chicken to pan; toss.
- Place pitas on baking sheet. Broil 1 minute each side. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken onto each. Top with onion and cheese. Broil 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.
My rating: 7.9/10