My husband and I discovered Indian food when we traveled to England and were hooked. I’ve mastered many of our favorites at home, and this week’s Indian-inspired Chicken Curry is a combination of two of my favorites: Chicken Tika Masala and Butter Chicken.
The two dishes are similar, with a tomato-based sauce that’s not too spicy.
In Chicken Tika Masala, the chicken is grilled before being added to the sauce. In Butter Chicken, the chicken is sauteed with a puree of onion and ginger.
I suggest grilling the chicken and dicing it up before adding it to the sauce. If you don’t want to take the extra step, however, saute the chicken as mentioned above.
You might think the ingredients for an Indian-inspired meal at home would be hard to find, but you can get everything right at your favorite supermarket. Garam masala, a spice blend commonly used in Indian cooking, is available on the spice aisle, and the remaining spices are just ground cardamom, cayenne pepper and ground coriander seeds.
I add a whole chopped jalapeno for some heat, but you can use less or omit it completely, depending on your family’s preferences.
Jalapenos differ from one to the next, with some being extremely hot, while others are milder, so start with a small amount and add more to taste.
Serve over hot cooked basmati rice or with a side of naan bread from the supermarket for a delicious Indian meal at home.
If you want to make a more elaborate, multicourse Indian meal, there are many Indian vegetable and dessert recipes available online. Our favorite Indian vegetables are aloo gobi, an Indian-style cauliflower, and saag, an Indian-style spinach.
For dessert, I love the Indian rice pudding called kheer.
INDIAN-INSPIRED CHICKEN CURRY
For the chicken:
3 boneless, skinless breast halves
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
Place the chicken into a baking dish and pour the lemon juice over the top, turning to coat all pieces well. Season on both sides with salt and a little cayenne pepper and then marinate at room temperature while you heat the grill. Grill for about 4 minutes each side, until done. Set aside.
For the vegetables:
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or canola oil
Place the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel “S” blade and pulse until pureed.
Add the pureed vegetables and the ghee or oil to a large skillet and cook, stirring, until it begins to turn golden, about 10 minutes.
For the spice mixture:
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine in a small bowl and stir into the vegetables after they’ve cooked for 10 minutes.
Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Chopped fresh jalapeno, to taste, optional
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock or 1 14.5-ounce can store-bought reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ cup half and half
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
Cooked basmati rice, for serving
Add the remaining ingredients to the vegetable-spice mixture.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Dice the chicken and
add it to the sauce and simmer it for 10-15 minutes more.
Serve over rice and garnish each serving with a little fresh cilantro.
Makes 4-6 servings.