Before we got more serious about avoiding processed foods and cooking more at home, I would have never believed that I would attempt any kind of Indian dish at home. Honestly, Indian, Thai, Chinese all seemed like dishes that were too complicated to attempt at home and should only be eaten out. The word “curry” immediately made me think expensive, numerous and exotic spices (ie way too hard). It’s amazing how quick and easy a lot of these dishes are to make at home. Once you get a few of the base spices, you are set to go and most of it is just throwing the ingredients into a large pan and cooking it all together.
For me the hardest part of these kinds of meals is getting the rice to cook correctly. Cooking a larger quantity of rice would never turn out quite right, but this is easily fixed by buying a rice cooker. Better yet get an electric food steamer (I have had mine for over 8 years), you can cook rice, asparagus, shrimp (and a lot of other stuff ). Seriously, this thing turns the rice out perfectly at any quantity. Just make sure it says you can use it to cook rice…hopefully Black and Decker is not discontinuing our model.
Onto today’s recipe~ Chicken Tikka Masala, which I associate as being an Indian type dish but technically it is not an Indian dish, more like an English interruption of Indian food. This recipe is from The Kitchn, and the link provides a way to cook it using your oven instead of grilling the chicken.
NOTE~Chicken should be marinated in advance
Marinate the Chicken:
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 7oz cup whole-milk yogurt
- Juice from ½ of a lemon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
For the sauce:
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lg onion, sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1-inch ginger, peeled & minced****peel ginger with a spoon
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 to 2 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp paprika
- Pinch cayenne, optional
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
- 3 cups cooked rice
Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Trim chicken of any large pieces of fat (this may not be necessary). Place chicken in gallon size plastic bag and spoon in prepared marinade, seal bag and make sure chicken is coated. Refrigerate overnight, it is recommended to marinate at least 6 hours. Chicken will become more tender and flavorful the longer it marinates.
When ready to cook, remove the thighs from the yogurt and shake off any extra marinade. Start your rice. Cook chicken on the grill over high heat until cooked through to at least 165°F internal temperature. Set aside chicken to cool and dice into bite-sized pieces when cooled.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste, garam masala, paprika, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the can of tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the heavy cream and chicken, and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is just starting to bubble, about 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste (ie garam masala or cayenne) . Stir in about half of the cilantro just before removing the sauce from heat.
Serve immediately with rice and top with cilantro. This works well as leftovers.
The Rest of The Week
Pasta with Lamb, Zucchini, and Feta~we used sheep’s milk feta (from Whole Foods and it’s my favorite feta ever). Really enjoyed this dish, and was a very easy week night meal to whip up. It was ok the next day for lunch but not quite as good.
Miso Noodle Soup~this was not bad, our first try at miso soup. We did “cook” the ingredients more than instructed, so we started off with the veggies in the dutch oven and cooked them for a few minutes before adding in the broth. We could not find the miso paste so we used miso broth instead (32oz).
Caul-do Verde (Portuguese Caldo Verde with Cauliflower) (weekend)~so good! Turned out better than expected, nice complex flavors. Make sure to cut the greens in half so as not to end up with long strips. We did not add the sausage and it was still a very satisfying dish. It tasted even better the next day.
Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs (weekend)~not a fan of this one, I felt the red peppers were overwhelming.