Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

I've just returned from a 5 day trip to New York City! What a place to be. There's an unmatchable energy there, and you can't help but lose a few pounds walking around just taking in the sights, sounds and people who are there.

One of the greatest things, in my opinion, about the City is the food! Any thing at all you can imagine can be delivered right to your door almost any hour of the day. There's delivery sushi, ice cream, bar-b-que, and the topic of the night-- Indian food. As most of you have (hopefully) learned while being on a diet, cutting out carbs and fat does NOT mean cutting out flavor! Some of the greatest spices in the world have no calories at all, but create such a flavor in food, I can't imagine not using them. Tikka Masala is one of my most favorite Indian dishes. In restaurants, it will be made with heavy cream and lots of butter; however, here is a lightened version for anyone who wants to close their eyes and imagine being in New York City or Mumbai.

Of course, most people would eat this on top of rice and with a thick peice of white flour naan bread. I actually REALLY enjoy my tikka on a bed of fresh baby spinach! It gives a crisp texture to your bite that rice can't fulfill. Unfortunately, we're all out of luck for the naan right now! There's just nothing that can replace it!

Chicken Tikka Masala
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cayenne (or less, according to taste)
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced (or grated) fresh ginger
  • few pinches of salt, to taste
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt, to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup lite cream or 1% or 2% milk (I don't recommend skim because it would take a long time to thicken up)
1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and few pinches of salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but can do overnight or while at work.

2. Cook chicken until done. This can be done on a grill after skewering meat on a bamboo skewer OR by sauteing in a large skillet. I usually saute after draining most of the marinade off the chicken bits. No need to rinse chicken before cooking

3. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream or milk. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes (more if using milk), stirring occassionally and making sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet. Add cooked chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Carb options

As mentioned before, most Indian food is served with rice and naan. Plus, if you can find real Indian chutney, and can handle the high sugar content, it is a delicious appetizer with naan or papadam.


sarah said...

Yum! I have actually just recently tried Indian food and really enjoyed it. I'll have to try this soon.

Scott Salsman said...

This is my favorite dish that Tara makes. Actually it's pretty much my favorite that anyone makes. Highly, highly recommended!

I do like the rice and naan, of course, but I like the spinach there, too!