Friday, March 6, 2009

FOOD - chicken tikka & pilau rice

I'm branching out - going ethnic - and we are not talking burritos here people.

With my hand being firmly held by my cooking ambassador Suniti - I was able to make my first Indian dishes - chicken tikka and pilau rice. I do say - both were delicious.

Having really only eaten Indian take-out or Kennedy's (Indian curry house/Irish pub) over the years - I was really surprised how simple the dishes were to make and how healthy. Both were made with just one main ingredient layered with spices - simple, very very flavorful and uncomplicated.

Here is the recipe for the chicken tikka -

ingredients -
1-1.5 pounds fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

marinade -
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt (we used Indian yogurt - it is thicker than most standard yogurts)
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp red chilies
1/4 tsp fresh green chili

directions -
  1. mix all ingredients for the marinade together
  2. add chicken and thoroughly mix and cover each piece with the sauce
  3. place chicken on baking or broiling pan covered in foil - ensure each piece has plenty of sauce
  4. set oven to broil, leaving door slightly ajar
  5. broil chicken for ~10 minutes or until top of chicken begins to brown
  6. use tongs to flip all the chicken pieces over and then continue broiling until chicken is cooked through
  7. eat!!
Things to note -
Suniti mixes everything by hand - no wooden spoon or anything. She says it is important to feel the food as you cook. This makes sense to me but still challenges my fussy nature.

Taste taste taste as you go along - we would add a pinch more of an ingredient a few times as we went along.

Watch those chilies - I can handle foods with a little kick (not going to be signing up for a pepper eating contest anytime soon though) and the 1/4 teaspoons of red chilies and green chili (with a dash more added as we tasted) were plenty. They really kicked up the flavor but anymore would have completely taken out the taste of the other ingredients.

Unless you are Suniti's 80+ year old mother who makes her naan everyday from scratch - go ahead and buy frozen or fresh naan from the store. Throw it in the oven at 400 degrees for 2-3 minutes and you have yourself some toasty warm tasty bread.

Next time we are going to make samosas - I cannot wait!