Chicken tikka II and *perfect* rice cooker basmati rice

December 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sometimes you just NEED a curry, amiright?  This recipe is only slightly adapted from one shared with me by a friend from grad school, and it is fab.  While we’re all fans of the Cook’s Illustrated version,  this one is my new (rediscovered) favorite.  I think the critical difference is the sauce, which requires making an onion puree, which really elevates the flavor of the sauce (my favorite part of the dish, obvs).  I also included a recently discovered, foolproof way to make perfect basmati rice (fluffy, not sticky) in a small rice cooker!

Chicken Tikka Masala II

Ingredients

For the chicken marinade:

  • 1 lb boneless chicken tenders (or slice up a chicken breast)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I use greek)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 in fresh ginger, finely chopped (I used jarred stuff, and use 2 tsp)

For the sauce –

  • vegetable oil – couple tablespoons
  • cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup of onion puree (about 1 medium onion, or 2 small onions blitzed in a food processor). NOTE:  if you have a giant onion, by all means puree it, but don’t use more than a cup of the puree.  I made this mistake once and used a mutant onion that yielded 2 cups of onion puree and it totally overwhelmed the taste of the sauce).
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or more if you really like it, like me)
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Marinate the chicken in minced garlic, ginger, diced onions, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, garam masala, and yogurt.  Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight (heard that a few days makes it extra delicious, but who plans that far ahead? I always do overnight.)
  2. Bake marinated chicken at 350° for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  3. Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a skillet, enough so the oil covers the bottom of the pan. Add a cinnamon stick and cook until it starts to unfurl.  [I’ve skipped this step before]
  4. Add pureed onion (watch out, there could be splattering).  Cook until the onion turns translucent (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the fresh cilantro, cumin, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper and turmeric.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add tomato sauce.  Heat until oil and tomatoes separate, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add cream and salt.  When adding the cream, add about a quarter cup at a time.  Stir well and check the color of the sauce. Stop adding cream when the sauce is between a bright orange and peach (or tastes how you want!).  NOTE: The salt helps balance the flavor  of the cayenne pepper.  If you accidentally added too much pepper, try adding a bit more salt to get the blend right.
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the baked chicken to the sauce and cook until chicken is cooked, about 10 minutes.  Garnish with more fresh cilantro leaves and serve with perfect basmati rice.

Perfect basmati rice, made in a rice cooker

I used this method for the first time this weekend and it was perfect.  No burned rice, evenly cooked, and more important, fluffy not sticky.

  1. Use a ratio of 1 part basmati rice to 1.5 parts water (I used 2 cups rice, 3 cups water).
  2. Rinse the rise thoroughly – I run it under water for about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Add rice to rice cooker, add water, stir.
  4. Add a swirl of olive oil (perhaps 1-2 tsp?)
  5. Start rice cooker and let it do its thing.
  6. Once rice is cooked, let sit in rice cooker – without touching it – for 10 minutes.  Then fluff with a fork and serve.
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