I have studiously watched Nepalis make authentic Indian and Nepali food in the US. I have written down recipes at 11,000 feet in the Himalayas. But there is some magic that goes into their cooking that for me is impossible to duplicate.
I guess that’s why I was surprised to hear one of my dinner guests say, “This is the best Chicken Tika Masala I’ve ever had!” The basic recipe is one of Bon Appétit's “BA's Best, a collection of our essential recipes," modified for Paleo by substituting coconut cream and plain almond milk yogurt for dairy.
If, like me, your taste buds perk up from the food aromas in the parking lot of your favorite Indian/Nepali restaurant, recreate that for your guests as spices wafting from your kitchen fill your guests with hungry anticipation.
My Paleo Marin: 4.5 Persimmons
3-6 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups almond (or coconut) milk plain yogurt
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
2 dried chilies, or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups thick coconut cream, preferably Trader Joe’s in the brown & white can (if you can find it)
3/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, salt and 1/2 of the spice mixture together. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Cover and chill for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
3. Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, tomato paste, cardamom and chiles and cook, whisking often, until tomato paste has darkened and the onion is soft. Add the remaining half of spice mixture and cook stirring often, until the bottom of the pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes with juices, breaking the tomatoes up with your hands. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
5. Add the coconut cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
6. While the sauce is thickening, preheat a broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside the sheet. Arrange the chicken on the rack in a single layer. Broil until the chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.
7. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, add to the sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Serve with lettuce leaves, or cauliflower rice, recipe here.
Chicken can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and chilled. Reheat to serve.
Makes 4-6 servings.
#paleo #chicken #Indian #whole30 #Nepali
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit's recipe here.
Cauliflower rice recipe from The Kitchn.