AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Laziness - Thwarted (Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala) DATE: 12/30/2009 08:50:00 AM ----- BODY:

With all the holiday mayhem, I craved a simple dinner. The convenience food aisle at the supermarket beckoned my lazy alter-ego, and my taste buds responded with a cry out for Chicken Tikka Masala. Unfortunately, the market no longer carried my favorite brand of Indian simmer sauces, the prepared sauces that only require the addition of meat to create a complete “freshly prepared” meal.

I was left to my own devices… and a semi-well-stocked pantry.

I started with a recipe from Alosha’s Kitchen…and chicken from the freezer, canned tomatoes from the summer and left-over cream from lord-knows-what. But as I scanned the ingredient list, I realized modifications would be necessary.

I didn’t have yogurt to marinate the chicken, but I did have a scootch of left-over sour cream from this year’s latke-fest. I didn’t have garam malsala – an Indian spice blend – but did have most of the ingredients. And the recipe called for grilling the chicken first before simmering it – and I had no interest in adding the extra step of precooking the chicken, much less digging out the grill from under its blanket of snow. Instead, I added some smoked onions to the sauce to give it that extra depth.

This was a bit more labour intensive than I planned, but still only 20 minutes from start to finish. All-in-all a delicious dish!

From the garden: canned tomatoes and jalapenos

Here’s the original recipe with my modifications.
Chicken Tikka Masala 
adapted from What's for Dinner via Alosha's Kitchen

Marinade

1 cup plain yogurt (I used 2 tbs. sour cream)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into strips or large cubes

Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 smoked onion
1 tsp. fresh ginger
1 jalapeno chile, minced (I used a smoked jalapeno leftover from the summer garden)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala (or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger + 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom + 1/8 tsp. clove + 1/4 tsp. cinnamon  +1/8 tsp. cumin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a small mixing bowl, combine everything on the marinade list, including the chicken. Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is better.)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, ginger and jalapeño, and stir for a minute. Add the chicken and lightly brown.  Stir in the seasonings, and salt. Add the tomato sauce, and stir for one minute. Add the half-and-half, and simmer, covered, until the sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through.

Serve with basmati rice or naan bread.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.


Happy New Year! Wishing you a sparkling and joyous year.


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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Melissa DATE:12/30/2009 02:39:00 PM Nice modifications! I'm glad you marinated overnight though, as I think it really helps with depth of flavor in the end. One of my favorites for sure, and definitely a nice change post-holidays. Happy you enjoyed it! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:12/30/2009 05:53:00 PM In the true spirit of Indian cooking, you've managed to create something old and yet entirely new, with what you had on hand. Here's to more fun with food in 2010! ----- --------