3boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 1.5 inch cubes
3tablespoons sunflower oil
1large onion cut into thin half wheels
2cloves of garlic finely minced
2serrano chilies roasted, seeded, and diced (optional)
1tablespoon ground cumin
1tablespoon garam masala
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
One28-ounce can San Marzano whole peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1cup heavy cream
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Fold in the chicken, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Heat the oil in a large casserole.
When the oil is hot, turn the stove to medium and add the onion. Brown the onions until they are caramelized. This takes about 20 minutes of constant stirring, and you might get lazy and want to shortchange this step. Resist the temptation and do it properly. This is the most important step for bringing rich flavor to your sauce. Also, if you want a little more onion in the dish try adding a second smaller onion and cut it into larger wedges, This adds some nice textual variation to the dish.
Next, add the garlic and chilies, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
Now add the cumin, paprika, and garam masala. Fry these spices with the onions for a minute to release their flavor. Add salt and pepper directly prior to adding tomatoes. This helps draw the flavor of the onions, spices, and tomatoes together.
Next, add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. It is alright to add the juice contained within the tomatoes themselves, however, be very conservative with the remaining juice in the can. You may find you want to add a little for volume, and that's fine, however, if you add too much your sauce will be very watery.
After the tomatoes have cooked with the spices for a few minutes add the heavy cream, thoroughly mix, and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally.
While the sauce is simmering, take the chicken out of the refrigerator, and place on wooden skewers.
If you feel like making the effort you can grill the chicken outside on a charcoal grill (using real wood charcoal). This is the best way. However, it adds a decent amount of time, and if you're cooking more than one dish, it can be a huge pain running in and out of the house. The other option is a stove top grill iron. Lightly coat the iron with oil, and once it is hot enough, cook the chicken skewers.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, take it off of the grill and put it to the side to cool for 8 to 10 minutes. This seals in the flavor and ensures the tenderness of the meat.
By now the sauce should have thickened nicely. Remove the chicken from the skewers and fold it into the sauce. Raise the heat slightly and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, and serve over basmati rice. Garnish with some fresh cilantro. See my recipes for spicy creamy peas and vegetable korma, they make excellent side dishes.