Well, it feels great to be back. I had a lovely couple of weeks with my husband, but I must admit that I’m relishing being back on a schedule. (Yes, I’m weird like that.) Before we jump into the tikka masala, I have to tell you about the deal going on right now at Starbucks. From now until August 18, Starbucks is once again hosting their Treat Receipt program. If you missed it before, here’s the gist: if you buy a drink in the morning, you can bring your receipt back after 2 PM and get a cold grande beverage for just $2. (Check here for more info.)
I recently discovered that I could buy garam masala from the bulk bin at Sprouts. Since I could get just enough for one or two recipes and pay only a teeny amount, I thought it would be a great chance to try out a new spice in a new recipe. We liked it so much that we decided to have it again, and then I decided to use the leftovers for one of our pizza nights. Intrigued? Read on for more details.
The first is a more standard chicken tikka masala that takes some time to make, but rewards you in delicious results. What I’ve discovered about garam masala is that it lends an indescribable flavor to the dish along with a warmth and spiciness (not hot spicy, just spiced) that fits in perfectly with Indian cooking. We ate this first recipe with some jasmine rice and naan (Indian flatbread). The only thing I regret about this recipe is that I don’t know where it came from. (If you recognize it, please leave a comment letting me know where it comes from so that I can give the creator their due.)
Chicken Tikka Masala (author unknown)
For the chicken:
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. plain yogurt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. grated ginger
For the sauce:
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 finely diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. grated ginger
1 minced serrano chile
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. garam masala
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1. In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt; sprinkle this evenly over both sides of the chicken. Put the chicken on a plate, cover it, and let it chill for 30-60 minutes. In a wide bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 2 tbsp. oil, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 tbsp. of ginger; set this aside.
2. Pour 3 tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, til golden, about 8 minutes. Add 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp. ginger, serrano chile, tomato paste, and garam masala. Cook til fragrant, 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the cream, stir to combine, and bring back to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, take it off the heat, but keep it warm.
3. While the sauce is cooking, position an oven rack 6 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. Set a wire rack inside a foil-lined baking sheet. (Or just use a broiler pan.) Remove the chicken from the fridge and dip each one in the yogurt mixture. (You want it to be a thick layer.) Put the chicken on the prepared pan and broil til cooked through, 10-18 minutes, flipping halfway through. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, cut it into 1 inch pieces, and add it to the warm sauce. Garnish with the cilantro and serve over rice.
The next version of chicken tikka masala is just as tasty, but even easier since it has everything cooked in your crockpot. I actually only made half of the recipe (though I’m listing the entire recipe), but it was still enough for 4-6 people. Crazy!
Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala (from Table for Two)
3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I like to cut mine into chunks so they cook faster.)
1 diced onion (Make sure it’s a really small dice, or it won’t cook quite enough.)
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 29 oz. can tomato puree
1 1/2 c. yogurt
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1-3 tsp. cayenne
3/4 tsp. black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 c. heavy cream
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1. Place the first 14 ingredients (chicken through black pepper) in a large bowl; stir to combine them and make sure the chicken is well coated. (I just mix them in my crockpot.) Place the mix in the slow cooker and add the bay leaves. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream and the cornstarch. Once they’re mixed, pour them into the crockpot, stir gently, and cook for 20 minutes to thicken up. Serve over rice.
Personally, I like leftovers. They’re easy, and if I really like the dish, I relish the chance to taste it again. But sometimes, you might get a little bored and want to reinvent your leftovers. This is what I decided to do with some of my leftover chicken tikka masala. I thought it would make an incredible pizza, and I was glad that I acted on it. These were so easy and tasty. I decided to make them on flour tortillas since they would crisp up quickly. I separated the chicken from the sauce. I used the sauce instead of tomato sauce, and then topped it with mozzarella and the lumps of chicken. I could easily fit 3 on a sheet pan, and they baked at 350 degrees for 8-13 minutes (depending on how crispy you wanted the base).
And I couldn’t leave you without a delicious, summery dessert (especially after a 2 week absence). I’ve talked before about the fabulous Jeni Britton Bauer and her amazing ice cream book. This was another of her recipes that grabbed my attention right away. As soon as I could, I found a watermelon and made this delicious treat. The texture is icy and smooth. Though the first taste is the tartness of lemon, you quickly become accustomed to it and discover the essence of a watermelon’s flavor.
Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet (from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer)
1 small-medium watermelon
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1. Cut enough watermelon flesh into 2 inch cubes to make 4 cups. Remove the seeds and puree the flesh in the food processor. Measure out 2 1/2 c. of the puree and transfer to a medium bowl (I actually strained mine and used juice instead of puree.); save the rest of the puree for another use. (I didn’t have any extra.) Fill a large bowl with ice water.
2. Combine the lemon juice, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
3. Whisk the lemon syrup into the watermelon puree and pour the mix into a 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag. Seal the bag and submerge it in the ice bath. Let the puree chill, adding more ice as necessary, til cold, about 30 minutes.
4. Once chilled, pour the sorbet base into your ice cream maker and churn til it’s the consistency of very softly whipped cream. Pack the sorbet into a container, press parchment on the top, and freeze til firm, at least 4 hours.
That’s it for this week, but I definitely have a lot more to come. Tune in again soon!