I am inordinately fond of curry. I love it hot, mild, saucy, dry, piquant, mellow, robust… Thai, North Indian, South Indian, Cape Malay you name it, if I haven’t tried, just hang on I’m getting there.
The inspiration for today’s curry was taken from the recipe book ‘Cook Yourself Thin’ (I like that idea). I really enjoyed the ethos of this recipe book. The basic principle is not to change the way you eat but to understand and know your eating patterns and habits; to have a basic understanding of the caloric make up of food in general and then make a few savvy decisions about what to cut out, cut down or substitute, making room for the things you can’t live without. That works for me.
Chicken tikka masala is said to be the modern day national dish of England and at approximately 1055 calories per serving (without the largers) it’s pretty rich. This recipe halves the calories by substituting the butter and cream with lite coconut milk. I did cheat a bit and added a spoon of cashew nut butter (my latest fetish*) but naturally that would be totally optional. I loved their spicy rice too – have been making it with other dishes now.
* Komati food has a range of raw nut butters for a fraction of the price as most health stores. They are GREAT on oats, in smoothies, in curries and they add depth to most sauces in general. I added some to Thai fish cakes and it was sensational. Peanut butter is good too, but it has a very distinctive taste and can be a bit over powering at times.
Chicken Tikka Masala ‘Lite’Serves 2 generous portions
For the chicken2 chicken breasts (Elgin free range all the way)
2 Tbsp of tikka masala powder (or paste I guess)
2 Tbsp of plain yoghurt (fat free or low fat)
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ tsp of salt
I was in a rush so I tenderised my chicken with a meat mallet, cut it into 6 large chunks per breast and rubbed it with the paste made from combining the other ingredients. Then I left it in the fridge while I prepped the other stuff (see below). The recipe didn’t tenderise the chicken and left it marinating in the fridge over night. Your call.
Pre heat your oven to 220C˚ and place the wrack at the top of the oven.
When you’re ready i.e. about 10 mins from finishing the dish, place the chicken in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes if you’ve tenderised and 10 minutes if not or until it’s just cooked through and browned.
For the rice1 cup of basmati rice
2 ½ cups of water
¼ tsp of mustard seeds
5 curry leaves (I bought dried ones)
1/8 tsp of cumin
1/8 tsp of turmeric (the recipe called for saffron but I didn’t have any)
½ tsp of salt
A few small cinnamon stick pieces (use a little ground if you don’t have the stix)
Add all the above into a small pot (heavy bottomed if possible). Simmer for 8 minutes with the lid on until still wet but most of the water adsorbed. Then remove from the heat and leave it to steam for a further 10 minutes. Fluff it up with a fork and remove the cinnamon sticks before serving.
For the sauce
1 tsp of oil1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp of water
1 Tbsp of tikka masala spice
115g of tomato paste (I used the new kind in a plastic container, the cans come in 70g, so use 2 or just dilute it with some water as they are pretty intense)
200ml of lite coconut milk
1 Tbsp of cashew nut paste (or peanut butter) optional
2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
Add the oil, onion and garlic in a pan on medium heat and lightly fry for a few minutes. Add the tikka spice and water and fry further. If it gets too dry add a little more water but you want to fry this until the onions have softened and released their natural sugars.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until all the flavours have combined. Add the cooked chicken and serve with fresh coriander and the spicy rice.
I doubled the recipe and froze individual portions (with rice) which I defrosted during the week for lunches, they were perfect!