I cooked Indian food!!

Wanna know a secret?  You know how everyone says that food in England is awful?  They’re lying to you.  Either that or they haven’t bothered to try any other food than over-done fish and chips in a touristy pub in London.  Some of the best meals I’ve ever had (and I’ve had some great meals!) were on my many work trips to England.  The food there is amazingly fresh and inventive.

The only thing missing in England is good Mexican food.  One time my coworkers and I got so homesick that we made our own Mexican feast in the hotel.  When I asked where cilantro was in the grocery store, I got a funny look.  Not as funny as the look I got when I tried to pick up my ‘pants’ at the dry cleaner.  That’s underwear in England, fyi.  That wasn’t even a tiny bit embarrassing, swear.  Especially when the ladies there were laughing so hard they couldn’t talk.  I was so flustered I got into the wrong side of the car when I got to the parking lot.

One food that England does really well is Indian food.  Oh, I LOVE Indian food, don’t you?  I’ve only found one Indian food restaurant in the valley that I like, but it’s like 45 minutes away.  So, I took a page out of Gail’s book and decided to make my own.  (She found the recipe here) But as soon as I decided to cook my very own Tikka Masala, I got nervous.  I mean really, it was intimidating!

Btw, this is a good time to show an easy way to dice an onion.  Cut an onion in half, cut off the ends, then take your knife and cut through it vertically from right to left like this:

Next, using your knife, cut through the onion perpendicular to your previous cuts like I’m doing below.  Very professional, eh? I’m klutzy in the kitchen (and everywhere else) so I have to be super careful when I’m cutting.

So, ready to be impressed?  I did this whole dish from scratch, including the garam masala spice mix.  Our coffee grinder gets used more for spices than coffee these days.  I was just in World Market and noticed they have a pre-made version there, but it had only about 5 spices.  This one has 9.

This dish smelled unreal while it was cooking.  All those spices! Throw in some sauteed onions, tomatoes, and (eek!) heavy cream….  ohhhhh

I also took the original recipe’s author’s advice and used tumeric in the basmati rice for a pretty color and interesting flavor.  Beware, that stuff will stain white cooking spoons. One thing I wasn’t thrilled with was the addition of the peas.  Sure, they added the perfect color to the dish, but the taste was too strong for my liking.

Broiling the chicken like this gave it a great flavor and it was so juicy.  (‘juicy’, not ‘moist’, because that’s the most disgusting word in the English language) Oh, and look there!  Cilantro leaves!  Which, if I were making this dish in England, would just be called coriander.

Not to toot my own horn, but this dish was killer.  It was a 4.5 the day I made it (due to the peas, but that’s not fair because it’s possible I just don’t love peas), but a solid 5+ as leftovers the next day after the flavors had time to mesh.  Ryan even has a coworker who doesn’t like ‘weird’ food who loved the smell of Ryan’s so much that he asked to try it, and he liked it!  Just wish I’d had some naan to soak up all that delicious sauce.

Oh, and we’re trying out some new recipe formats in the next few weeks.  What do you think?  We’d love feedback.

Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Amanda N
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 2
Adapted from http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/06/chicken-tikka-masala-by-pastor-ryan/
  • 1.5 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1.5 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
  • 1.5 tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 1.5 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1.5 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 1.5 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground coriander
  • Cumin
  • 1/2 C. plain yogurt
  • 6 Tb. butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 2-in piece ginger, zested
  • Garam Masala spice mix
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • Sugar
  • 1-1/2 C. heavy cream
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Frozen peas
  • 2 C. basmati rice cooked with 1 Tb. ground tumeric
  1. Season chicken breasts with kosher salt and sprinkle both sides with coriander and cumin. Coat the chicken breasts completely with plain yogurt. Place the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Turn the oven on ‘broil’ and place chicken 10-12 inches below broiler. Cook 7-9 min each side. Don’t walk away! They cook fast.
  2. Melt 2 Tb butter over medium-high heat and saute onions until they’re slightly brown. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions with about 1 TB of salt. Now add 3 Tb. of the Garam Masala mix. Stir in the entire can of tomatoes. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 Tb. of sugar. Let this simmer on medium for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in 1 1/2 C. of heavy cream. Now chop up cooked chicken and stir into the tomato sauce. Add a handful of chopped cilantro.
  4. Put the frozen peas into the hot rice and allow the rice’s heat to warm up the peas. Serve the chicken mixture on top of the rice and garnish with cilantro.
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6 Responses to I cooked Indian food!!

  1. Jen says:

    Nicely done! I’m totally like you: my favorite food in London is Indian food. And I adore it. But am too intimidated to make my own. Eek. Maybe I will now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Looks yum! I know nothing about Indian food, but I might have to try that (I personally LOVE peas). :D

  3. Anjeanette says:

    My friend Janet pointed me to your blog. I married an Englishman and lived in London for three years. I love Indian food. I believe that Indian is the most eaten food in England, even more so than Fish & chips. We managed to find one Mexican food place in Windsor that we went to a couple of times. It wasn’t bad but nothing compared with what we can get in Arizona. I’m curious which Indian restaurant you found that you like. We’ve tried a few. The best so far was the Dhaba in Tempe but you definitely need to eat in as the take away left things to be desired.
    I was amused at your experiences with the language there. It’s definitely an adjustment. One word not to say is fanny but you might end up with some good stories if you do.

    • Amanda N says:

      Hi Anjeanette! Your comment totally made me laugh! And I’m not kidding, I’ve heard of that Mexican food place! Seems it might be the only decent one in the country if everyone talks about it. I went to Windsor and saw it. I should have stopped in. And yup, the fanny thing… I thought about including that little tidbit, but didn’t know how to say it demurely enough for the blog. ;-) I haven’t been to Dhaba! I’m going to have to try it. I’ve eaten at Tandoori Times a ton of times, but it’s in N. Scottsdale. You sure you’re not English yourself?? “take-away”?? :-)

  4. Kari says:

    I made a “seriously I just made this up” curry this week (posted pic and ‘recipe’ on my blog). Turmeric is a problem for me, because I love the taste and color, hate the staining. (Baking soda does a pretty good job removing it from countertops, but I have yet to find the magic solution to remove it from my shirts…)

    • Amanda N says:

      Baking soda! Of course! I’m going to have to do that when I get home. Yeah, I feel like the original recipe should have come with a warning. Thank goodness I didn’t get it on my clothes!

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