Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Chicken Tikka Masala

Having been accused recently of overdoing it with curry on the menu I have been quite hesitant to cook a curry but it got to a point that I fancied one.  I fancied (and actually have been fancying non Christmas food since Boxing Day! OOPS!!!) something different!  A non Festive comfort food.  Our family comfort food comes in the form of many different foods - could be the flavours, the ingredients, the textures, our moods.  But everyone knows that once you fancy something you just have to have it.

My usual go to curry is either Butter Chicken or Japanese Curry but thought I should cook something new.  Didn't really wan't to get heckled about cooking curry lol!  I was given a Curry cookbook called The Curry Kitchen by my sister, Clare, for my birthday last year. After reading it - it became my favourite cookbook (well for the time being).  I have marked the pages with that many tabs with all the curries that I want to cook and I have tried quite a few - maybe that's where the curry rebellion started.. hhhmmmm?

Anyhow, the kids don't do blow away heat levels with curry.  Their taste buds range from mild to also mild to the occasional medium with one trying a hot dish every now and then.  With this in mind I thought we would have Chicken Tikka Masala served with steamed rice.

For this recipe I substituted the shop brought Tikka Masala Paste for a homemade version of Indian Masala which I made on Monday.  I made it a few days earlier to allow the flavours to develop, which they definitely did.  The paste itself was bordering on a medium heat but once cooked through with the remaining ingredients it mellowed to a very comfortable mild tempered curry.

There was only really one main difference between our version and that of the book (let's put this out there - who's dish actually does end up looking like the picture right?) is that the homemade paste was naturally coloured and not the red as it comes prepared in the shop brought pastes which are full of preservatives, additives and colourings.  However if you are not game or able to make your own paste there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a jar of paste.

The flavours were terrifically balanced - between the Tikka marinated chicken, the tomatoes and the cream.  You could definitely taste the mustard seeds, cumin and coriander on the chicken pieces and in the sauce with the faint trace of cinnamon from using the homemade paste.

This meal was a definite "fakeaway" hit in the Murray household and is also a mid week wonder as besides the marinating of the chicken the whole dish was on the table in under an hour.  Do yourself a favour though - marinate the chicken the day before so the poultry takes on the full flavour of all the Indian spices.

Chicken Tikka Masala
(Recipe adapted from The Curry Kitchen Cookbook)

Serves: 6
SmartPoints per Serve: 8

12 boneless small chicken thighs, cut into chunks
100 grams plain reduced fat yoghurt
8 tablespoons Indian Masala Paste or Tikka Masala Paste
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 cup chicken stock
400 gram can diced tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup reduced fat thickened cream
fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish

Combine chicken, yoghurt and half the Masala Paste in a bowl.  Cover and place in the fridge for 3 - 4 hours to marinade or longer if time permits.

Heat half the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilli powder and stir for 5 minutes or until golden.  Add the remaining curry paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until aromatic.

Add stock, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Sear chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Add chicken to sauce and simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Add cream 5 minutes before serving and stir well to combine.  Garnish with coriander and serve with steamed Basmati rice (3sp for 1/2 cup) and small Pappadums (0sp each if cooked in the microwave).

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