Tonight I cooked up an Indian-inspired feast, and it turned out really great. I made chicken tikka masala awhile back and was amazed at how juicy the yogurt coating kept the chicken. I wanted to make that chicken again, but minus the masala. While that was tasty, I wanted something slightly healthier and wanted to branch out on my own. I was really proud of how the chickpeas and spinach came out with very little recipe guidance, and the chicken was as juicy as last time. What made this truly a “feast” is that I served it with both oven-baked brown rice and a piece of storebought garlic naan. Even my husband, who is skeptical of Indian food, went out of his way to say how much he liked this meal.
I am filing this under the “Vegetarian” tab as well since you could easily make a meal out of the chickpeas and spinach over rice, which would make for a tasty meatless option.
Adapted from: a combination of this Food Network recipe and Cook’s Illustrated
1 cup plain yogurt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1. Combine all spices and yogurt in a large bowl. Marinate chicken breasts in yogurt mixture for one hour.
2. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and let chicken breasts drain slightly before placing on baking sheet.
3. Broil chicken until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and coating is lightly charred in spots, turning once during cooking. This should take about 20 minutes total.
4. Remove chicken to a plate and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Indian-Inspired Chickpeas and Spinach in Creamy Tomato Sauce
Adapted from: my head
One can chickpeas (I like Goya), drained and rinsed
4-5 large handfuls baby spinach (about 4 oz.)
1 ½ cups low-sodium plain tomato sauce
1/3 cup whipping cream, at room temperature
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ Tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. Asian chili garlic sauce
¼ tsp. ground cayenne
¼ tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. garam masala
½ cup water
*Note: I did not measure the spices, so these proportions are approximate, and you should feel free to adjust to your tastes. I tried to underestimate the amounts I used so that more of any particular spice could be added according to your preferences.
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 2-3 minutes. Add chickpeas and toast, stirring frequently, for another 2 minutes or so.
2. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in all remaining spices and check seasoning, adding more of your favorite spices if desired.
3. Whisk in cream and return to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently.
4. Begin adding spinach in batches, adding small amounts of water as necessary to wilt the spinach and keep sauce at desired thickness.
5. Once all spinach is added and wilted, turn the heat down very low and cover. Simmer 5 minutes covered, and hold warm until ready to serve.
Serve with brown rice and/or garlic naan, and enjoy an Indian feast!
11/30/08 Update – I am submitting this post to a contest hosted by Joelen’s Culinary Adventures