Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tikka Masala

For those of you who know me, you know that I found out in October that I'm allergic to chicken and eggs. Yes, I know... they are (were) staples in my diet on a daily basis! SO it's been an interesting adjustment period.

One of the Cardiologists that lectured us, recently, reminded us that "the less legs it has, the better!" Obviously, since he is a cardiologist, many of his patients need to control their weight and cholesterol. He uses this method to help them figure out what they can eat! Pretty intuitive. The less legs it has, the better.

Maybe a visual aid would help:

Cows and pigs are worse than chickens which are worse than fish (mutant ones with legs don't count). And, obviously, vegetables can't grow legs so they are the best of all!

Some of you may also know that as a young child I had high cholesterol because I pretty much refused to eat anything except fried mozzarella and chicken strips. I had to see a dietitian and everything. From then on it was reduced fat wheat thins and fat free string cheese only!

So regrettably, I am informed enough to know that I can't just swap out my 10 meals a week that consisted of chicken for beef. This transition period to a meat-less; egg-less diet consisted of plenty of cheating and lots of whining, but I'm officially there and doing well... and eating a whole lot of turkey!

Anyway, if you're just looking for the recipe, here it is! This is a great recipe. I'll definitely be making it again! I'ts not near as difficult as it looks, just lots of spices. Marinade meat overnight, cut up veggies as you grill meat, mix all together, voila! 

Chicken (or Turkey in my case) Marinade
1 cup yogurt
1 Tbl. lemon juice
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbl. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. salt
3 boneless chicken breasts (or same amount of turkey), cut into bite-sized pieces (about 12 oz meat, total)
4 long skewers for grilling

Needs to marinate for at least an hour, even better if it marinates over night,  so plan ahead a little bit!

Tikka Masala Sauce
2 Tbl. butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. salt 
16 oz. tomato sauce
14 oz can coconut milk (I used light)

Other stuff to put in the dish
1 red bell pepper coarsely chopped
1 large white onion coarsely chopped
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (depending on your desire for spice)
1 small zucchini, sliced into, thin half circles
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

This dish can easily be made vegetarian by doing tofu with the chicken/turkey marinade! You could also omit the meat and just use more vegetables, although the meat marinade adds a lot of flavor.

What to do for the meat
  • In a large bowl, mix all marinade ingredients together. Stir in the turkey, cover, and refrigerate over night. 
  • Skewer the meat onto the wooden rods and grill over high heat for 4-5 min on each side
  • Set aside until ready to add it into the sauce
What to do for the Sauce
  • Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat
  • Saute the garlic, jalapeno, onion, pepper, and other vegetables for a couple minutes
  • Season with the cumin, paprika, and salt. 
  • Stir in the tomato sauce and coconut milk
  • Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens up a bit (15 minutes)
  • Add in the grilled turkey and simmer on low for another 15 minutes or so
    • The meat marinade actually adds a lot of flavor and spice, so don't add extra cayenne or anything until after you've mixed in the meat
  • With 5 min or so remaining, stir in a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro
Serve with white rice (I like jasmine rice) and top with more fresh cilantro!

Stop taking pictures and eat already!!!

Let me know how it works out for you. Also let me know if you have any egg-less breakfast casserole recipes!

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