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Chicken Tikka Masala

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    Chicken Tikka Masala

    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.

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    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.

    Serves 4.

    source: "Perfect Poultry", alive #372, October 2013

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    Chicken Tikka Masala

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