Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Who doesn’t like great Indian food!? Unfortunately, depending on where you live it can be hard to find good Indian food. Even if you can, it can be difficult to find it for a good price. So, if you are like me, you run to the internet to scour the world wide web for authentic Indian recipes. Unfortunately, I have found that of all the cuisines I have ever tried to research online, this one is by far the trickiest to successfully track down.

Nonetheless, after a number of trials, and a few failed attempts, I have refined an excellent chicken tikka masala recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures until I was finished, but it was so good, I had to post. One last thing to mention before I get to the recipe, this version of tikka masala is actually quite healthy. This recipe makes six servings, with each coming in at 550 calories when served over 3/4 cup basmati rice.

On a related note, you will notice some fantastic looking naan in the pictures (an essential if you are going to eat Indian food). I know from my own trials (probably 5 different attempted recipes) and discussions with my friends, that a good naan recipe is next to impossible to track down. So, here is the link to the naan recipe I found and used the other day. Shout out to Manjula Jain for posting this fantastic recipe!

So with no further adieu here is the recipe:

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala

For the chicken:

1 lb chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut to a 1″ cube

2 c. Chobani plain non-fat yogurt, in 1 c. portions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger root, minced

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tbs garam masala

For the tomato base

1 28oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Check the link above for the recipe

The Best Homemade Naan Ever! Check the link above for the recipe

1 tbs ginger, minced

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 bay leaves

5 whole cloves


For the actual dish

Tomato base, prepared ahead of time

1 medium onion, sautéed until golden brown, then pureed to a paste

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste

1 /2 tsp cayenne, (+/-) to your preferences

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

1 c. Chobani plain, non-fat yogurt

For the Chicken:

To start, at least 1 hour before hand, preferably 4 hours, combine all ingredients listed above, place in a ziplock bag, and let sit in the fridge. Once marinated, skewer all the chicken bits, and grill until cooked through.

For the Tomato Base:

Wrap the peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaves, and cloves in the cheesecloth and tie up for easy removal of spices later. Combine all ingredients listed for the tomato base, including spice bundle in a pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the tomato chunks are soft and ready to fall apart. Remove the spice bundle, and with an immersion blender (or poured into a regular blender) puree the base until smooth.

For the Tikka Masala:

Combine the tomato base, onion, garlic paste, ginger paste, and the spices in a heavy bottomed pot or a wok, and heat to a gentle simmer. After about 5 minutes, add in the cooked chicken, and continue to simmer for 7-8 minutes. Once chicken is heated through and the flavors have melded, stir in the yogurt and cook 2 minutes more. Simple as that, you have chicken tikka masala, ready to be served over some basmati rice! Bon Appetit!

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala Plated on Basmati Rice, Ready to enjoy!

And as always… Enjoy!


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Perfect Focaccia

The perfect focaccia bread… a delightfully airy yet hearty, savory but basic, and attractive yet simple creation. The perfect nibbler bread, exquisitely soaking up a delicious pre-meal bread dip, while being the perfect host to a fantastic panini. Such a simple yet amazing bread, with unlimited variations and uses, it seems counterintuitive that it would be so difficult to find a good recipe.

This is not to say that there is a lack of recipes available, there are thousands, and I have tried a number of them always with the same result… dissapointment. To those who have posted focaccia recipes, I would like to give this (albiet late) preface: it is not that the recipes I have tried are bad, in fact many have been quite tasty, the problem is consistency. I imagine that a traditional focaccia is actually quite a bit crustier and drier than the picture I have painted in my mind, so I go ahead to say this recipe I came to yesterday will not be a traditional focaccia, it is rather a perfecaccia ;).

So, having appeased the traditionalists, and appealed to my fellow soft loving focaccia allies we shall preceed with my:

Perfect Focaccia:

4 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 pkg quick acting dry yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)

1/2 cup nonfat milk

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix uniformly. In a bowl mix sugar, warm water, and yeast and let rest until activated (a foam will begin to form). Once yeast is activated mix all ingredients in a bowl and knead until smooth but still slightly sticky. Let rest on a counter covered with a clean damp cloth for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Lightly oil a 14″ round pan or a 9 x 13 inch pan (I think the result is better when cast iron is used, but any dish of those sizes with sides will work.) After the initial rise, carefully transfer the dough to the dish and gently stretch the dough until it fills the pan and is touching all the walls. Recover and let rest for 30 more minutes. Preheat the oven to 425.

Leftover chicken breast, roasted red pepper, caramelized red onions and spinach, monterey jack cheese on Perfect Focaccia baked in the oven, served with lentil soup.

Prior to baking, using all four fingers dimple the surface of the dough by firmly pressing straight down with the tips of your fingers. This should be strong enough to leave a dimple, but not strong enough to flatten the dough or punch through. Drizzle olive oil on top and around the edges of the dough, and season as you wish*. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack. And as always… Enjoy!

*A traditional topping is salt garlic powder and rosemary, I used garlic powder, salt, pepper, basil and oregano on the loaf in the picture. You may also add veggies, caramelized onions, tomato paste, etc to the top halfway through the baking time.

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