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INDIAN CHICKEN TIKKA – EASY AND GLUTEN FREE

 

Chicken Tikka

I love chicken.  I especially love a wonderfully seasoned chicken.  When I first tasted CHICKEN TIKKA at a good friends house,  I fell in love with it and had to have her recipe.

It uses a blend of spices that make the chicken taste exotic and rich.  I have since modified the actual process a bit (it all depends on the weather – you’ll see what I mean), but it’s actually a simple recipe.  I have never shortened the marinating time though,  and I don’t think you should either.

Serve this with a quinoa side dish (recipe will follow) and a nice crisp green salad.  YUM

 

INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN TIKKA

1 1/4 lb. boneless chicken

1 cup (- 2 TB) plain yogurt

1 TB tandoori masala (recipe to follow)

2 TB sunflower oil

2 preserved lemons

small handful of fresh cilantro or fresh mint

Cut your chicken into 2 inch cubes.  Whisk the yogurt and stir in the masala and the oil.  Marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture for at least 2 hours.

When the marinating time is up, heat your oven to 450 degrees F. (220 degrees C.), or heat your broiler or your charcoal grill.   (depends on your weather and your mood!)

Thread all the chicken pieces onto skewers.

Bake the chicken for about 12 minutes.  If you are broiling or grilling the time is only about 10 minutes.  Turn the skewers once during this time.

As you plate, sprinkle some finely chopped cilantro or mint over the chicken. Place some slices of preserved lemon on the plate and serve with the quinoa side dish and a fresh green salad.  Oh yeah!

QUINOA SIDE DISH RECIPE

1 TB. butter

1 cup uncooked Quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)

2 tsp. chopped garlic

2 TB finely chopped onion

1/4 tsp salt

dash of freshly ground pepper

2 TB fresh, chopped parsley

1/2 TB fresh, chopped thyme

1 TB fresh or frozen lemon juice

Melt the butter in a flat bottomed skillet or pan, add the Quinoa and toast until a nice golden brown – approximately 5 minutes.  Add the next five ingredients (broth, garlic, onion and salt – pepper) and bring to a boil.  Immediately lower heat so that you can maintain a nice simmer for about 15 minutes.  Or until Quinoa is tender (add more liquid if necessary).  Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat.  When plating, sprinkle Quinoa with the parsley and thyme and add a few drops fresh lemon juice.  Serve.

 

TANDOORI MASALA

If you want the deep red color of most restaurant tandoori food, you will have to add some red coloring that you can get from an Indian market.  But it really isn’t necessary.

1/2 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)

1 TB coriander seeds

2 tsp. cumin seeds

6 whole cloves

3 mace blades

2 tsp. ground turmeric

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground hot chili

1 tsp. amchoor or 3 TB. lemon or lime juice

1/4 tsp. asafetida or two cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered OR 1 clove garlic and a scant 1/3 cup minced sharp onion.

1 tsp. black salt

1 tsp. sea salt

Or, if you can’t find black salt simply use a little extra sea salt.

Crush the cinnamon lightly and dry-roast the whole spices until they darken and start to smoke (this is important, so do let them ‘start’ to smoke).  Let cool, then grind them in a coffee grinder or by hand.  Combine all the spices with the salts. Store in a glass container in a dark area like a pantry or a cabinet.  If you had to use garlic and/or onion instead of the asafetida (which is available in Indian stores or on online), you will need to refrigerate until it’s used up.

This particular spice mixture can be used successfully with many meats and fish.  It is always used with plain yogurt like in the recipe above.  It imparts a slightly sour flavor that is mixed with the smoky flavor imparted from the darken spices.  Very good… very rich… and different enough that people will ooh and ahhh over the food.

 

 

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