Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reading AND Cooking Recommendation!

If you know me, you know how much I love the written word; I majored in English, after all, and fantasize about writing the Great American Novel.  I also love to eat; Mr. W could confirm that I am a bottomless pit (he's a gentleman, though, so he won't).  If you can combine a good book with good food, you have a recipe for success!  I just finished reading English Trifle by Josi S. Kilpack, which is the second installment in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series.  Sadie is an intrepid 50-something sleuth, who solves murders while sharing recipes from her tried-and-true personal collection; fortunately for her readers, Sadie's recipes are included in the book.  In this particular adventure, she finds herself visiting an English country estate, where she swaps recipes with the estate's cook (who only knows how to reheat food), experiments with preparing traditional British cuisine, and investigates an untimely death.  One of the recipes Sadie shares is for Chicken Tikka Masala, a spicy curry-type dish.  Mr. W and I don't eat much Indian food, but I decided to give it a try anyway -- and it was soooo good!  It was easy to fix, too, and we both loved it.  I contacted Josi and received her permission to share the recipe with you.  Give it a try; you'll be glad you did!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Josi S. Kilpack/Sadie Hoffmiller
1 cup plain yogurt
2 T. lemon juice
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. Cayenne pepper (1 tsp. for a milder flavor)
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger (or 1/2 inch piece of ginger root)
1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite size pieces (I used thighs -- they're more tender)

After combining all ingredients in a gallon size Ziploc bag, seal bag and use your hands to knead the mixture together from the outside of the bag. Allow to marinate at least 1 hour in refrigerator. (Can marinate all day or overnight.)  After marinating, remove chicken from bag. Grill or broil chicken until cooked through. Marinade will be thick and will cook off during the cooking process. You do not need to save the drippings.

1 T. butter or margarine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garam masala (optional if difficult to find)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup whipping cream

Cilantro for garnish

Melt butter in a large skillet, add garlic & jalapeno. Cook 1 min. Add coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala, and salt. Add tomato sauce and cover skillet. Simmer 15 minutes. Add cream and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add cooked chicken to sauce, simmer 5 minutes, and serve over basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro. Serves six.

A couple of notes: This is SPICY!  I seriously overestimated my spice tolerance.  I only used half of a jalapeno and was still on fire; if you don't handle super-spicy stuff well, I'd recommend that you leave out the jalapeno (Mr. W handled the heat fine; I don't think he has a spicy limit).  Also, if you choose to use traditional Indian basmati rice, really read those package directions; I assumed that it cooked the same way as white rice and just threw it in my rice cooker, and it ended up being a little crunchy.  Basmati rice is really good and smells yummy while it cooks, but I think it would taste just as great with regular old white rice.

This is just one of many culinary gems contained in English Trifle.  If you visit Josi's website, you can download more of her recipes and learn more about her books, too.  Thanks, Josi!

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