Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicken Leaky Mufasa?

A lot of times around our house food conversations get a little convoluted.

M "What are we having for dinner?"
Me "Chicken cacciatore"
M "Oh, okay sounds good"

...Weeks later...

Me "What do you want for dinner this week?"
M "How about chicken catch a tory?"
Me "What are you trying to say?"
M "You know, the chicken dish we had a few weeks ago."
Me "Chicken cacciatore?"
M "Ya, isn't that what I said?"

No. No that is not what you said.  This happens on a regular basis in our house meringue has been murang and this week Chicken Tikka Masala turned into Chicken Leaky Mufasa.  Even though it can be confusing at times, I have to say, it adds to Mike's charm.  When he says something funny, he'll just grin and say, "I don't know the name, I just know whatever you made is good!" One of the many reasons I love that man.

Surprise of all surprises, today's recipe is Chicken Tikka Masala

I first had this dish in Japan of all places at an Indian restaurant.  It is a wonderful and warm blend of spices, chicken, and rice.  The secret to this delicious chicken is all in how you cook it.

You cook the chicken in yogurt of all things.  Sounds disgusting right?  Well I dare you to make the chicken and not love it. The first time I made it, I nearly ate all of the chicken before making the sauce - so there's your word of warning.  It is truly a warm hearty winter dish!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain yogurt (I used greek, but use what you have/like)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine 
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, minced (ribs and seeds removed)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

To prep the chicken: Mix the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt together in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken.  Put the chicken on a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.  Whisk the yogurt, vegetable oil, garlic and ginger together in a wide bowl.  You'll use this to coat the chicken later before cooking - set aside for now.

Meanwhile, pour the oil into a large Dutch oven set over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, serrano chile, tomato paste and garam malasa.  Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes, stirring almost constantly.  Stir in the crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt then bring the sauce to a boil.  Reduce the heat so your sauce is simmering and cover the pan.  Let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring a few times.  Add the heavy cream, stir to combine and bring the sauce back to a simmer (uncovered).  Take the pan off of the heat and cover to keep warm.  (You can also make the sauce ahead - just refrigerate it once it cools slightly then rewarm when you want to serve.)

To cook the chicken:  Position an oven rack about 6 inches from your broiler and preheat the broiler.  Set a wire rack inside of a foil-lined baking sheet.  Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and dip each piece in the yogurt mixture.  You want a relatively thick layer coating the chicken.  Transfer the chicken to the wire rack.  Broil the chicken until it is cooked through (to an internal temperature of 160 F), about 10-18 minutes, flipping the chicken over halfway through the cooking time.  (The cooking time will depend in large part on the thickness of your chicken pieces.)  Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes, then cut it into 1-inch pieces and add to the warm sauce.  Add the cilantro to the sauce as well and season to taste before serving.


Anyone notice I didn't post Monday?  Well, I did anyway - completely escaped me.  So as an apology, here are some cute puppy-in-the-snow pictures.  Enjoy!

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