tasty tuesday ~ chicken tikka masala w/cauliflower & potatoes

fresh cilantro and Naan complete the plate.
I love Indian cuisine. The exotic flavors and spices make me want to hop a plane to Mumbai. However, I have not always had much luck cooking it. Until now. Now I have Aarti Sequeria, the most recent winner of The Next Food Network Star and host of "Aarti Party", cooking by my side. She has made this dinner possible. Her recipes were clearly written and the instructions easy to follow. I will say this. Indian cooking is similar to Chinese. You had better have everything cut and ready to go before you fire up a pot because it goes quickly. I made the curry first, then put on the rice and cauliflower. My stove top was jumping let me tell you.

I made a few changes in the curry. I used jalepeno peppers and not serrano's. I used vine ripened tomatoes instead of Roma tomatoes. The results were pretty fanfreakintastic! My guys were happy too. My kitchen smelled like my favorite Indian bistro. Success!

So take a little trip around the world and explore it through your taste buds. Give these dishes a try. You won't be disappointed.
Celebrate the Feast!
 This weeks recipe is being shared with Balancing Beauty and Bedlam , Domestically Divine Homemaking Link UpFull Plate @ Miz Helen's Country CottageRaising Homemakers , Delicious DishesTempt Your Tummy TuesdayThe King's Court IVTuesdays at the Table33 Shades of Green as well as Frugality and Crunchiness w/ Christy! Head on over to their blogs and check out other fabulous recipes.
This was as good as any I have ever had in any Indian restaurant.

Chicken in Creamy Tomato Curry: Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira
1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press or finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-size chunks

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 6 cloves garlic and 2-inch thumb ginger minced)
2 serrano peppers, minced (seeds removed if you don't want it spicy)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 cups water
Oil, for grilling
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, naan, or crusty piece of bread, for serving
For the marinade: In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator up to overnight.
For the sauce: When you're ready to make the curry, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the Ginger-Garlic Paste and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato has darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and the paprika and saute for about 1 minute to draw out their flavors.
Add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. You may need more water depending on how much liquid the tomatoes give off.
Meanwhile, fire up your grill. When it is nice and hot, lightly brush it with oil. Place the chicken on the grill, shaking off some of the excess marinade. Cook until it's charred, about 2 minutes on each side. (Don't worry that the chicken will still be a little uncooked, it finishes cooking in the sauce).
Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Pour back into the skillet and bring back up to a boil. Add the chicken and fenugreek leaves, if using. Take the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the cream and stir through. Garnish with minced fresh cilantro, and serve over rice, with naan, or a crusty piece of bread!
Ginger-Garlic Paste:
1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup canola oil
Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste.
Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc. We always had a jar of this stuff in our fridge growing up.
the cauliflower and potato dish was spectacular!
Cauliflower and Potatoes: "Aloo Gobi"
Recipe adapted from Aarti Sequeira
2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows, or 2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large serrano pepper, split down the middle leaving halves attached
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (similar size to cauliflower)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro leaves, to garnish

Mix the Ginger-Garlic Paste, coriander, turmeric, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. This is a simple wet masala (spice mix). Set aside.
In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the serrano pepper, wait 30 seconds, and then add the cumin seeds and wait until they're done spluttering.
Add the wet masala (careful, it will also splutter). Cook until the paste thickens, deepens in color slightly, and oil oozes out of the perimeter of the masala, about 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and potatoes, stirring to coat the vegetables with the masala. Season with salt and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the lid, stir, and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Simple Basmati Rice
Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira
1 cup basmati rice
1 3/4 cups water
Large pinch salt
This is the most important part: Wash the rice! Place the rice in a large bowl and fill with fresh, room temperature water. Swirl your hand through the water and the rice; the water will go cloudy. That's all the starch that we're trying to remove in order to have individual grains of rice, not the sticky kind that's popular in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. (According to traditional Indian wisdom, this also makes the rice easier to digest because so much of the starch has been removed). Once you've swirled your hand around for a minute or so, pour off the water, taking care not to lose any rice. Repeat this washing process until the water runs clear. Usually, this takes 3 or 4 changes of water.

Fill up the bowl 1 more time and let the rice soak for 30 minutes.

At the end of 30 minutes, drain the rice. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 3/4 cups water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.

Add the rice, stir, and wait until the water comes back to a full boil. When it does, turn the heat down as low as it can go, and then cover. Cook for 15 minutes.

At the end of 15 minutes, cut the heat. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; you should see that every grain of rice has grown a little longer and is separate from its brothers and sisters. Well done!

Mary L. on Foodista