Monday, June 15, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala


I love Indian food. Unfortunately it isn't the most kid-friendly fair (in my opinion). It can be spicy, smelly and a bit weird. BUT, I love it. So I want them to love it.


So in honor of my favorite little Indian place [a place I started frequenting in High School with two of my friends], I decided to make a 'faux' Chicken Tikka Masala. Faux because this is a quick, short-cut version. It's also lower fat, which is always good news. I found a recipe similar to this online, played with it a bid, changed a few things, and this is my version.

Delicious served with warm naan bread, or you could substitute some yummy homemade pita bread. In fact, if you want to make just the chicken in this dish, you could serve it inside the pita with a little greek yogurt. Or hummus. Mmm. [Clearly, I have no problem mixing cuisines!]

Chicken Tikka Masala
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (you can use greek if you'd like)
  • juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 big ones)
  1. Mix everything together in small bowl. Cut chicken into small pieces, and coat with yogurt sauce. Pour everything into a ziploc bag and marinate in the fridge for 2+ hours.
  2. Thread the chicken onto skewers. Spray your grill with non-stick spray (don't forget this step like I did the first time...otherwise your chicken may become one with the grill), and cook chicken, until juices run clear. Don't over cook chicken, or it will become dry.

Sauce:

  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp. cumin
  • 4 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
  • 2 (8 oz. cans) tomato sauce
  • 2 c. (prepared) Shirley J cream sauce base
  • fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
  1. Melt butter and olive oil in a deep, large skillet. Add garlic and saute until soft. Be careful not too cook it too high or too long, or the garlic will burn and taste bitter. Add tomato sauce, seasoning and cream sauce. Combine together and simmer on low heat until thick and cooked together. (About 15 minutes.)
  2. Add the cooked chicken (removed from the skewers) and simmer until heated through.
  3. Serve over rice. Jasmine rice is best, but if you are out of jasmine like I was (oops!), any rice will do. (I cooked mine using the Shirley J chicken boullion. It would be great to add frozen peas to the rice...but my husband is anti-pea, and I pick my battles!) Garnish with fresh cilantro. (Again...I omitted this, because my husband thinks that cilantro tastes like soap. ? Yeah, I don't know either...)

****The spices in the yogurt marinade and the sauce can be subbed out for Garam Masala (found in the spice aisle of any grocery store). I like that, but I also like to "make my own", because I can control the flavors I like, the heat, etc.

This version is fairly mild and tame. It doesn't have any jalapenos, and I took the cayenne pepper down a few notches so it is kid friendly. A totally kid friendly, non-scary, Indian dish. I can't guarantee what your breath will smell like after you eat it, but don't let that stop you!







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