Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Indian Rice Bowls

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I have to say, I was surprised how much I liked this dish.  I'm a little picky about Indian food, mostly because when I try it in restaurants it's usually way too hot for my palate.  My husband loves it, the hotter the better, and has been known to sit in front of a fan munching away as sweat beads up and rolls down his temples.

Not me.

I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to spicy food.  Call me crazy, but I'm not a fan of having my tongue feel like tiny bonfires have been set all over the surface.  However, in recent years, I have come to appreciate more heat in the spices of my cooking and enjoy that pleasant warming spice sensation while eating a meal.

In the spirit of trying more international dishes and experimenting with Indian spices (which are now available at our local grocery stores - yay!), I tried the following recipe the other night.  It is adapted from one I found for "Indian Butter Chicken".  I tweaked it a bit and added some veggies and it will definitely be appearing in the regular meal rotation at our house.

Indian Rice Bowls  Printable Version

1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. ginger (fresh or powdered - if you use fresh, just grate it over a microplane)
1 jalapeño, seeded, and finely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp garam masala
1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 tsp. cayenne (or red pepper flakes 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds (about 2-3) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks or strips

Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

Rice for serving (white or brown is fine)
Broccoli (see below for roasting instructions)


1. In a large skillet (I used my cast-iron one), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and jalapeno. Stir often while cooking until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and rest of the spices, including a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook stirring, constantly for another minute.

2. Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and add tomato paste and chicken broth. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce back into the skillet and add the coconut milk.   Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and add the chicken pieces.

3. Occasionally stir to make sure the chicken is cooking evenly, keep the sauce at a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened.  Taste the sauce and season as needed.

4. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into chunks and stir into the sauce until melted. Serve the chicken and sauce over hot rice and add a generous portion of roasted broccoli (see below).

Quick Roasted Broccoli

This side dish is one I make at least once, usually twice, a week.  You can use fresh or frozen broccoli, just be aware that with frozen it will take about 10 minutes longer to roast.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Toss broccoli florets with about 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder (usually I eyeball this, maybe a 1/2 tsp. of each?), then spread in an even layer on the baking sheet.  Pop in the oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes until browned.  Remember, frozen takes longer!

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