Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jamie Oliver's Chicken Tikka Masala


Need a little something to warm you on these cold nights? Add as much 'heat' as you like!

This is another dish I'd never eaten, but after watching Jamie Oliver prepare Chicken Tikka Masala on Martha Stewart, I had to try it! A little google research quickly confirmed my instincts: a 'must try'! It's quick, very easy and so delicious. The flavors compliment to achieve quite a pleasurable full culinary experience. If you could smell the fresh paste, and then see the dish cooking, I promise you would want more than a bite!

The paste ingredients make roughly a cup, which is enough for two recipes. Make the paste ahead, store in the frig, and you can have this on the table in little more than thirty minutes.

The Cilantro Rice cooking technique alone is reason enough to give the recipe a try. If you like fluffy, non-sticky rice, this is the recipe for you!

I served it all with a couple of spears of broccoli cooked right in the pot with the rice. It doesn't get much easier!

FYI: the word Tikka means pieces, chunks or bits; a masala can either be a combination of dried (and usually dry roasted) spices, or a paste made from a mixture of spices and other ingredients—often garlic,ginger, and onions. It is used extensively in Indian cooking to add spice and flavor. (Straight from Wikipedia.)

Chicken Tikka Masala (Jamie Oliver)
Serves 4-6
2 T peanut oil
1 T butter
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced (I used 1 tsp. dried red chili flakes)
1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed, stems finely chopped
1/2 cup Tikka Masala Paste* (you can buy this prepared, but make your own!!)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4 inch strips
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup slivered almonds
Cilantro Rice **
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Heat peanut oil and butter in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, chile, ginger, and chopped cilantro stems. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions soften and begin to golden, about 10 minutes.

Add masala paste and chicken; stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and coconut milk. Fill an empty can with water and add to skillet (I'm holding off on the can of water--my sauce was thin with the water); stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook, checking occasionally to make sure it does not begin to dry out and add water, if necessary, until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Top (garnish) with yogurt and sprinkle with almonds and cilantro leaves. Serve with rice and lemon wedges.

*Tikka Masala Paste
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cayenne
1 T smoked paprika
2 tsp. garam masala
1 (2 inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 T peanut oil
2 T tomato paste
2 fresh red chiles (I used 1 tsp. red chile flakes)
1 small bunch cilantro
1 T unsweetened shredded coconut (I used sweet, because I had it)
2 T almond flour (I used 2 T slivered almonds)
Toast cumin and coriander in small dry skillet until fragrant. Transfer to food processor, along with all other ingredients. Process until a smooth paste is formed. (I had to add just a little more peanut oil.)
**Cilantro/Lime Rice
Sea Salt
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed and stems chopped
Zest and juice of 2 limes (I used only zest and juice of one lime)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Rinse rice in colander under running water until water runs clear, about 1 minute.
Add rice to boiling water. When rice begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes. Drain rice in a colander. Fill pot 1 inch high with water. Bring to a boil over hight heat. Reduce heat to a simmer. Set rice-filled colander over simmering water. Cover with foil or lid and steam rice 8-10 minutes. Transfer rice to a large bowl. Add cilantro leaves, stems, lime zest, and juice. Stir to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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