Sunday, January 8, 2012

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala

I have been craving Chicken Tikka Masala which is an Indian chicken dish also known as Butter Chicken. The original recipe has no butter in it but is named butter chicken because the chicken is so tender you can cut it like butter. My original recipe marinates the chicken overnight and then has you cook it in the oven on a rack over a baking sheet, covered with foil which yields very tender and moist chicken cubes. The cooked chicken is then finished in a tomato and spice based sauce which is finished off with a little heavy cream. It is the ultimate spicy chicken dish.

I had high hopes for tonight's version which came from my November/December issue of Clean Eating. This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken breast (as does my original recipe), low-fat yogurt for the marinade (as does my original recipe) and a nonstick skillet to prepare the sauce. The 1/2 cup of heavy cream in my original is replaced with 2/3 cup low-fat sour cream in this recipe.

Overall I thought this recipe came out very heavy on the spice scale and lacking in the depth of flavor in the sauce. I plan on making and posting my original recipe in the next couple of weeks for a comparison. This was good, but my original recipe is just better. I tried this recipe knowing that it was better for us and I am definitely an advocate of healthy eating, but I have strong ties to family favorite recipes.

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from Clean Eating

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Canola Oil

1 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
4 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 24-26 oz. jar or box no-salt-added strained tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup low-fat sour cream, room temperature

4 to 6 metal skewers, 10 to 12 inches long (If using wood skewers, soak first for 30 minutes to help avoid burning).

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, cardamom, turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Transfer mixture to a large resealable bag and add chicken, tossing to coat. Close bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, set aside in refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.

Thread chicken onto skewers (4 to 6 pieces, or whatever will fit), discarding marinade.

Preheat grill to high and lightly oil grate. Arrange chicken on grill and cook, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare sauce: In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Add onion, garlic and 1 teaspoon minced ginger and cook, stirring occasionally until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garam masala, chile powder and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Remove chicken from skewers and add to sauce, stirring to combine. Cover partially and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

My rating:

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