Dinner Tonight: Chicken Tikka Tacos
One show that my sister and I really enjoy watching is The Great Food Truck Race. The season that just ended had some really great teams, and neither of us could get over how many people showed up in every single city to support Aloha Plate (the winning truck). Seriously, who knew there were so many Hawaiians living in the Lower 48? I'm sure their food is really amazing, too, but I kind of wanted Tikka Tikka Taco to win. Their Indian-fusion concept looked and sounded delicious. They came in second place, but right now they actually have a crowdfunding campaign going on to hopefully raise enough money to be able to start their business anyway. You can check that out here on Indiegogo--they're looking to raise $30,000 and I wish them the best of luck!
Images: Courtesy of Sundae Brunch
Since I don't really have the chance to try their food in person, I decided to take their idea for chicken tikka tacos and make my own version at home. I don't have their exact recipe, of course, so I know that this isn't an exact replica of theirs. From what I could gather watching the show and looking through their website, they use chicken tikka, sautéed spinach and raita. The tacos I put together here use chicken tikka masala and yellow rice, but I think the spirit of the dish is there. This was my first time preparing raita (a yogurt sauce), and it worked really well with the flavors of the chicken. Their version definitely looks much smoother, but perhaps it's just passed through a blender. Either way, I absolutely recommend making it to accompany your tacos.
Chicken Tikka Masala Tacos
Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
For the Chicken Tikka Masala
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 oz. Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
Garam masala to taste, anywhere from 1 to 3 tbsp.
One 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. sugar
For the Raita
24 oz. plain yogurt (I didn't use Greek yogurt here, but you could)
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. garam masala
For the Rice
2 cups basmati, Valencia, or regular white rice
4 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. turmeric
For the Tacos
White cheese (I had mozzarella, but queso fresco would be good, as would Cotija)
Small flour or corn tortillas
To prepare the raita, combine all of the ingredients and season to taste with kosher salt. Be sure to seed the cucumber and tomatoes first so that the sauce doesn't become too runny. Set aside.
Cook the rice using your preferred method, with the butter, salt, and turmeric. I'm not a lover of rice cookers, so I cook my rice on the stovetop with 3 1/2 cups of water.
While the rice is cooking, season the chicken breasts generously on both sides with kosher salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, and paprika. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with half of the Greek yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until softened. Add in the garlic and ginger. Season with kosher salt, pepper, and garam masala to taste.
Add in the can of diced tomatoes and the sugar. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then add in the remaining Greek yogurt. Blend lightly with an immersion blender, if desired. Dice the cooked chicken and add into the sauce. Taste again for seasoning.
That's it. Assemble your tacos and enjoy!