Growing up, I had a little bit of exposure to ethnic cuisine, but not much. We ate Chinese food pretty regularly, and I remember going to a Japanese restaurant once. Most of my exposure has come as an adult, and it usually takes me a while to get up the courage to try something new.
Last April, after I finished writing my college Honors’ thesis, my Advisor invited all of her students out to dinner at a local Indian restaurant. It was some of the best food I had ever eaten. Since then, Boyfriend has become the Indian cuisine specialist in our household. He doesn’t cook often, but when he does…WOW!
Out of an absurd need to prove myself, I knew I had to make this recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala as soon as I saw it on Pinterest. Boyfriend not only ate it, he asked for seconds and thirds, so I think I did pretty well.
Marinade and Chicken:
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ginger juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 pounds chicken, breasts and thighs, diced small
In a bowl, blend the yogurt, lemon juice, cayenne, cumin, gingers, cinnamon, salt as needed and pepper. Once well mixed, add the chicken and allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Do not over marinate.
While the chicken is marinating, prepare the cauliflower and sauce.
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp Garam Masala, or other Indian spice blend such as tandoori spice, or a curry spice blend
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1 head cauliflower, rinsed, cored, cut into 2-inch pieces (or 1 bag frozen cauliflower, thawed)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the oil and spices, and whisk until blended. Toss in the cauliflower and use a spatula to coat completely with the butter/spice mixture. Distribute evenly on a lined baking sheet, and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the stems are tender, and the edges are browned. If using frozen cauliflower, roast for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons jalapeno or Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Chopped green onions and cilantro, for garnish
Special equipment: fourteen to sixteen 6-inch skewers
Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, salt and paprika. Stir in the tomato puree, heavy cream and sour cream. Simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, prepare a grill to medium-high heat. If, like me, you decide to make a recipe that calls for a grill during a snow storm in Maine, heat a grill pan on the stove-top to medium-high instead.
Thread the chicken on the skewers. Grill the chicken on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and repeat cooking on the second side. Once cooked on the second side, brush both sides with the prepared sauce. Allow the sauce to warm and then serve, garnishing with greens of choice.
NOTES: I served mine over jasmine rice. I also left off the greens because I absolutely hate the taste of cilantro.