Posted in What's for Dinner Mom?

Chicken Tikka Masala

When you begin to do a bit of research on a dish it’s very disappointing to realise that it doesn’t actually exist!  Chicken Tikka Masala is one of those failsafe dishes that I often order in Indian restaurants and have always enjoyed but I have learned that if I were to visit India it probably wouldn’t feature on any menu.  The closest dish I have found in Camellia Panjabi’s book ’50 great curries of india’  is the butter chicken (murgh makhani) delhi dish however I’ve had a few goes at cooking it and generally base it around Jamie Oliver’s recipe from ‘jamie’s dinners.’    I’ve pared back on a few of the ingredients as my philosophy is simple, simple, simple.
The chicken tikkas (pieces) are cooked separately from the sauce.
You will need:
 4 breasts chicken
2 red onions
2 tbsp tomato puree
115 ml double cream (half avonmore carton)
200g natural yoghurt
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves
3 inch ginger
2 red chilli
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp garam masala
half tsp salt, 500ml water
handful fresh coriander to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Use a food processor to make a paste of the garlic, ginger, chilli and all the spices.
Mix half of the paste with the natural yoghurt in a bowl.
Chop the chicken pieces and add to the bowl of paste and yoghurt and mix well.
Peel and finely slice the onion.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions with the remaining half of the spice paste over a gentle/medium heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan to a medium/high heat and use a tongs to take pieces of chicken from the bowl and onto the pan (try to keep as much of the marinade on the chicken as possible).  Quickly brown on all sides to seal the chicken and place on a baking tray and place in the oven to cook through.
To finish off the sauce add the tomato puree, salt and water, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes.  Add in the cream and mix well.
Check the chicken is cooked through and stir into the sauce.  Serve on a bed of basmati rice with a garnish of fresh coriander.  Enjoy

Garam Masala
The observant among you may notice that each of the plates above are split in two and there is a slight variation in the colouring.  That is because I used two different types of garam masala.

I made a blend of the black cardamom, cloves, cinamon, peppercorns and ground cumin and it turned out comparably well with the Schwartz ( I didn’t have enough of the Green Saffron blend and to be honest wasn’t going to cook 3 batches: )  ).
When I say I made the blend I tell a lie.  I had a coffee while my twin girls and boys and their friend Ani all took turns in grinding with a pestle and mortar and a coffee grinder.  It took them an hour!!!
The home made blend was slightly lighter in colour (the Schwartz includes tumeric) but in taste there was very little to differentiate and both were delicious.
As far as I can recall the Green Saffron blend has 17 different ingredients so I think I will leave the grinding and blending to the experts in future.
Till next time, Sheila

Posted in Events & Adventures in Food

Garam masala

Friday night is a night for unwinding and relaxing and for me nothing is more enjoyable than cooking up a tasty feast to be relished with a bottle of wine.  Last Friday I chose to make chicken tikka masala.  I revisited Jamie Oliver’s recipe which had worked for me before and then realised that I had no garam masala (blend of warming, aromatic spices).

The last time I had made this dish I had used a blend that I bought from Green Saffron at the Farmers Market in Mahon Point, Cork.  This time however I had to improvise and with a vague idea of what was included in garam masala I crushed some black peppercorns, green cardamom pods, cloves and a teaspoon of cinnamon.  The dish turned out well but not as good as the first time so I have decided to educate myself on the contents of garam masala.

I hadn’t been too far off the mark with my choice of spices however the cardamom pods should have been black and not green!  My ratio of cinnamon was also probably too low.  I’ve been reading ’50 great curries of India’ by Camellia Panjabi and learning loads.  This week I plan to visit the market and see if I can find out what combination of spices Green Saffron are using in their garam masala and then make my own.  Camellia Panjabi says that a classic garam masala  would have equal quantities in weight of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper with a little black cardamom and the rest depends on individual preference – she uses fennel seeds and cinnamon leaf.

I’m looking forward to Friday night already and it’s only Monday!  Recently I’ve been feeding my family on chicken kiev, shepherds pie, chicken tikka masala, chilli con carne, lamb madras and the full Irish for Sunday brunch.

p.s. Last week I tried ‘chillionaire’ available from Rebel Chilli stall at markets in Cork and used it in the chilli con carne – I absolutely loved it however too hot for the kids – steam coming out their ears!.

Till next time, Sheila