Monday, August 23, 2010
Chicken Tikka, Cucumber Raita, Basmati and Naan
Here goes another attempt at getting serious about Indian food. Chicken Tikka, which is similar to Tandoori chicken, is made many different ways and there are hundreds of recipes on the internet. I looked at many of these and decided on taking different aspects of the best ones and added my own style. I don't have a tandoor oven, which is the traditional way of cooking this dish so I used my indoor grill.
Start by making the spice mix by combining 1 part coriander, cumin, salt and garam masala with 2 parts turmeric, cayenne, and paprika. Then puree the onions, ginger, garlic, hot peppers and lemon juice in a food processor and blend it with the spice mix, this mixture is known as Tandoori Masala. Combine the Tandoori Masala and the yogurt together to make the marinade for the chicken.
Chop boneless chicken breast (or thigh) into medium chunks, about 4 pieces per breast. Lay out the chicken in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and pour in the marinade. Poke the chicken with a fork to tenderize and then refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24. Turn every 4 or 6 hours for the best results. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shake of the excess and put them on a hot grill. Turn as necessary to cook through and get a nice color.
FOOL PROOF RICE: This is the easiest and most fool proof method to making any rice. It works every time. Just do not touch it. It works for any amount of rice in any size cooking pot.
Put the rice in the pot and cover with cool water. Mix it around with your hand a few times and then drain by slowly tilting pot. Refill with cool water. The perfect water level is when the water is one thumbnail above the rice (half and inch). Put your thumb in the water and check to see the level. Add salt or oil if desired at this point. FROM THIS POINT ON DO NOT STIR THE RICE - AT ALL. Put the pot over med-high(7 of 10) until the the water boils off and the top of the rice is almost at the water level. Turn the heat to low (1 of 10) and cover the pot tightly by using a piece of aluminum foil over the pot then putting the lid on. Let the rice cook undisturbed for 12 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE LID. Take it off of the heat and let it rest for at least 5 minutes but it can sit for up to a half hour. Remove the lid and the aluminum foil and fluff with a fork. You will have perfect rice every time, no measuring and no sticky mess.
Cucumber Raita: Puree a clove of garlic, same amount of ginger, a handful of cilantro and a handful of mint with 1 whole peeled seedless cucumber in a food processor. Mix it with 2 cups of yogurt and the juice from half of a lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least half an hour.
I bought the Naan bread and heated it in the oven, fluffed my basmati rice, and got the raita out of the fridge. The chicken was off the grill finally (indoor grill is no outdoor grill I assure you) so I put everything together family style because we were having friends join us for this awesome feast. Everyone was pleased with how it all turned out, I can see this dish being a staple and one I continue to work on. Namaste