If there’s one dish guaranteed to be on every Indian restaurant menu in Canada, it’s chicken tikka masala, which usually involves marinating the chicken in full-fat yogurt and simmering it in a spice-infused tomato cream sauce. Undeniably, it’s big on flavour—but also just as packed with calories.
This simplified version is weeknight-friendly and omits the heavy cream for cashew cream to produce a dish that is just as enchanting but without the excess saturated fat. The added bonus is a kitchen suffused with appetizing aromas. Serve with whole wheat naan or rice.
2/3 cup (160 mL) raw, unsalted cashews
2 tsp (10 mL) grapeseed oil or other oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger
2 tsp (10 mL) garam masala
1 tsp (5 mL) coriander powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) turmeric powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot paprika
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fenugreek seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 - 28 oz (796 mL) can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 lb (450 g) skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) cubes
1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped cilantro
Place cashews in bowl, cover with water, and let soak for about 2 hours. Drain cashews, place in blender along with 2/3 cup (160 mL) water, and blend until very smooth.
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Place garam masala, coriander, turmeric, paprika, fenugreek (if using), nutmeg, and salt in pan and heat 30 seconds. Pour in tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaf; bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in cashew cream and chicken and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro.
source: "Perfect Poultry", alive #372, October 2013
Lime juice and ginger add a tropical whiff to this French-Japanese mashup, where seaweed tendrils and Dijon mustard bring out the umami flavours in mushrooms and eggplant. The ingredients might seem to be strange bedfellows, but they work. The result is somewhere between a quiche and a soufflé, with a gluten-free eggplant crust featuring punchy mustard and citrus. This makes for a hearty vegetarian main for brunch, lunch, or dinner with a side salad, or a filling side dish. Fresh or dried If you don’t have fresh thyme and parsley, use 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme (divided) and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley. The flavours won’t be as pungent, but a little flavour is better than none.
These are the perfect two-bite appetizers. Though the first bite likely won’t “wow” you, the more you chew, the more the salt from the dulse soaks into the avocado and tomato. Wait for it. You can also turn these into breakfast à la avocado toast by substituting a piece of your favourite bread for a slice of baguette. What’s in a name? Theoretically, this should be called a “DLTA” because of the avocado (dulse, lettuce, tomato, and avocado). And if you left out the lettuce, you’d have a “DTA.” A DTA would arguably be a better overall eating experience, since lettuce slightly waters down the rich and creamy result and makes it harder to keep the tomatoes from sliding off the top of the crostini. But the juicy lettuce is actually helpful, since it spreads the salt from the dulse throughout the entire bite, making the “wow” moment come sooner. Besides, neither DLTA nor DTA is as fun an acronym as DLT.
This triple-threat recipe is made with (up to) three types of seaweed. Wakame is essential for the pesto, but kombu boosts the umami punch of sautéed garlic and cherry tomatoes, while kelp noodles are a low-carb substitute for flour-based noodles. Because kelp noodles can be hard to find (you’ll likely need to order them online), feel free to use your favourite boxed linguine, zucchini noodles, shirataki konjac, tofu, or yam noodles instead. You can also leave out the vongole (clams) to keep the recipe plant-based, or use mussels, which are usually more affordable than clams. Both clams and mussels are generally sustainable, as, like seaweed, they’re farmed without feed or antibiotics, unlike many farmed fish operations. Double-duty pesto Make a double batch of seaweed pesto, and enjoy it with eggs, scrambled tofu, or toast.
Spicy popcorn? You bet. This Japanese seven-spice blend combines salty and spicy notes for a healthy snack. If you don’t make your own togarashi, check the container before adding it to your popcorn to make sure it doesn’t contain salt. For an even simpler recipe, skip the togarashi and just grind a few pieces of nori and a pinch of salt in a blender or spice grinder to sprinkle on your popcorn instead. If you’re fresh out of nori, you can always grind wakame, arame, or dulse instead, leaving out the pinch of salt for dulse or any seaweed you taste and find already salty. Shichimi togarashi This customizable spice blend generally features sansho pepper, a.k.a. Japanese prickly ash, a green peppercorn with a citrusy taste, along with seaweed flakes, chili pepper, and dried citrus peel—often yuzu or mandarin orange. If you can’t find sansho, look for Sichuan peppercorn, which has a slightly stronger mouth-tingling effect. You can buy dried orange, mandarin, or tangerine peel. Or you can dehydrate your own, in which case you might as well dehydrate a 1/8 in (3 mm) thick piece of fresh ginger along with the peel. If you can’t handle a lot of chili pepper heat, reduce the pepper to your taste.