A site for sore tastebuds and a woeful wallet

Posts tagged “curry

Chicken Tikka Masala the Easy Way

I love Indian food!  It is so full of flavor and aroma but I don’t always have the spices they use on hand.  I don’t know why.  I suppose I’ve been conditioned.  I suppose I’m an American used to a different set of spices.  Well, since they say, “Variety is the spice of life”, the same is true in the variety of spices.  Certain spices make foods come alive.  A little piece of chicken breast can become a masterpiece of taste with the right combination of spice in the sauce.  Places around the world have their unique flavors like Mexican cuisine, Italian, Moroccan, Chinese, Tai; but the Indian spices really are my favorite.  I found a little jar of Tikka Masala simmering sauce on an end-cap at the store and decided to try it. This is what happened.

This little chicken breast got all dressed up with just a few ingredients.

  • First I made cutlets of the chicken; little medallion size pieces seared in a skillet until just firm.  that takes about 3-4 minutes per side
  • Next, I removed the chicken, set it aside and replaced them with a bag of frozen fajita veggies; multi-colored peppers and onion and stir fried them.  That took about ten minutes
  • Then I put in half the jar of the Tikka Masala sauce (about 2/4 cup) and tossed the chicken back in for a swim.
  • Wow! the smell of India just happened!  When everything simmered together for a couple of minutes I was ready to dive in.
  • I plated up a serving and garnished it with raisins, peanuts and a sprinkle of shaved coconut.  YUUUUM!

This magic sauce is made of tomato puree, yogurt, coconut cream and those lovely curry, corriander, cardamom, and garlic spices so prevalent in the Indian cooking.  I’m not a person who goes for pre-fabbed foods and I really want to come up with my own Tikka Masala sauce some day, but this lovely dish took a mere twenty minutes start to finish.  Every bite was such an explosion of flavor!  I hope you try  it.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Veggies And Spice Turns Out Nice

I have been on the go for a while and have been living on leftovers and popping in to make a quick meal.  Most of them have been things I have already blogged.   Today as usual, I popped in for a quick lunch before going back out to visit a friend who just had a baby.  I don’t have time to thaw meat or mess with too much chopping.  I can hardly get away from that though, but with the right kitchen tools it goes fast.

First I used a potato dicer which looks like an apple slicer and works the same…you just push it down over the potato and slice the strips into cubes or smaller sticks.  I placed the cubed Yukon gold potatoes into a skillet with a bottom coating of olive oil…about a tablespoon and a half.  I covered the skillet and let that go for about five minutes on medium high.  I carefully turned them over and let the other sides brown up a bit too.  Slicing a whole zucchini into little half moons, I placed them all on top of the potatoes and stirred them under to get as much of the now nearly cooked potatoes on top.  I kept the lid on but occasionally moved them around until I was sure the steam from the zukes would stave off more browning of the potatoes.  At this point I added some spices: paprika, curry powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt.  I added a few slices of an onion in rings all around and stirred those under as well.  Lastly, I put in some chick peas to add the protein that would get me through this  busy afternoon.  I’ll be having company for dinner tonight and I think this will make a dandy side dish for later too.  Anything to save time!


Chicken Curry in a Hurry

To start this dish I began to wash and chop this assortment of nutritious vegetables. I removed six inches off the top of the leek, used one stalk of celery and sliced it thinly. Same went for two of the carrots once they were washed and peeled. I diced the onion and garlic finely, then sliced the cabbage into thin strips. All the while some rice was simmering in a pot on the back burner and the half of chicken was boiling on the front.

With some pretty basic ingredients I came up with a make-as-you-go sort of dish.  I didn’t know exactly what would become of a half of a chicken and all of these vegetables but with a few pantry staples and spices this is what happened:

Cooking the chicken required no more than adding a teaspoon of salt and cutting the meat into sections.

 

I thought a sweet chutney would compliment the spices I was thinking of adding to the vegetables and chicken. I used a couple of peppers diced, and put them in a small skillet with olive oil, scallions, onions, garlic, and let them cook down. Then I added some chili sauce for some nice heat, apricot preserves for sweetness, and tomato ketchup for acidity. I let that all melt together and set it aside.

 
 
 
 

So now with the chutney done and the chicken reaching 165° internal temperature, I set that aside to rest reserving the broth, cleaned the pot then added some olive oil and a very small amount of sesame oil, then all the vegetables and tossed them around on high heat unitl they became soft. They needed a bit of salt and pepper so I added a dash or two of each

I also added some soy sauce to give it more of an Asian persuasion and a few spices from a steak blend made for grilling.  It added a nice touch of heat to the vegetables.  I took the chicken which had been set aside to rest and cool enough to handle and removed the bones and cubed it into bite size pieces.  The next step was to add a good punch of color and aroma. 

Now, enter the real flavor! A good teaspoon of curry powder my husband just purchased from the local spice shop gets added. Thats the ticket!

 

The color and aroma have arrived! I needed to add liquid at this point so the vegetables wouldn’t burn so the reserved broth was what I used. I put enough in to allow the vegetables to loosen from the bottom and make a sauce of the most beautiful golden color.  Now to thicken the sauce I added about a tablespoon of corn starch to about ¼ cup of cooled broth and slipped it in. After stirring a while the texture of the sauce changed to a thicker silkier gravy. 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  
  
 

With the house smelling like heaven and the family about to starve, it was time to plate up and get to the table. It only took about 30 minutes from the idea to the reality and wow, my dreams of deliciousness have exceeded reality! Lets say grace!