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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicken Masala with Coconut Milk (New Recipe...and wait 'til you hear what else!)

Sometimes I get so excited, I can hardly stand it. Now is one of those times. I know that not all of you share my passion for cooking, but I'm sure wherever your passion lies, you know this feeling. And for those of you who do share my passion for cooking, you know exactly how I feel -- sometimes you just have to share!

So Keith wanted The Svelte Gourmet chili for dinner. He's requested that we have chili in the crock pot or in the fridge or freezer at all times, so I try to oblige. I love when he loves my food! But I didn't want chili, I wanted to make something new. I've been on this international kick lately, and I wanted something warm, spicy and exotic. I was discussing recipes with a friend this morning and she inspired me. Indian food!

But before I get into the Chicken Masala, I have a couple other things to share with you. First is my obsession with my immersion blender. You know by now that I have a thing for kitchen gadgets. Really, though, I like the things that make my life easier. I do love to cook, but it's really the challenge of making recipes healthy and simple that is what I love most. After all, we have to cook EVERY DAY. It needs to be simple. Otherwise, we end up reverting to bad habits. Anyway, any recipe that says "transfer to a blender" immediately turns me off. Until recently. This, my friends, is an immersion blender. It changed my life! You may have one of these tucked away in your cabinet ("because I don't make milkshakes!"), but you should get it out. This baby is super handy. So handy, in fact, that it didn't even make it back into the cabinet after last night's client dinner party.

The immersion blender makes very quick work of pureeing your dishes into beautiful, silky, smooth masterpieces. I first introduced this in my post about the increasingly popular Creamy Broccoli Soup. It literally takes 12 minutes to make -- and 10 minutes of that is boiling the broccoli! With this handheld blender, you can just cook, blend and serve in one pot! I even use it when Courtney and I make spaghetti sauce (she doesn't like the chunks). So if you have one of these babies, dust it off and put it to good use. If you don't have one, consider getting one. They're relatively inexpensive and in my opinion, indispensable!

OK, get ready, because this news is VERY exciting. I recently heard about this from a friend, and I did my requisite due diligence. So here goes. Basmati rice ranks similarly to brown rice on the glycemic index! I feel like running around the neighborhood and spreading the news! The glycemic index measures carbohydrates and the effect they have on blood sugar. As you may have read in my last post, whole grains are lower on the glycemic index than grains that have had the bran and germ removed (white flour, for example). Well, as it turns out, the higher the amylose content of rice, the lower it is on the glycemic index. Amylose is apparently a type of starch and I don't know much about it (yet), but it seems that basmati has it. This is very exciting, because basmati rice is wonderful -- aromatic, fluffy and really yummy. Very exciting news! This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I promise you'll see!

Now onto the main event -- the recipe! Don't be afraid to try some of these spice mixtures (like garam masala), even if you've never heard of them. The flavors are amazing. And I picked these up at my local grocery store!

Chicken Masala with Coconut Milk
Serves 4

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup light coconut milk
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Cut chicken into 1-2 inch cubes. Marinate them in the yogurt, light coconut milk, onion and salt for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Reserve the oil for browning the chicken later.

For the sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz can)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup light coconut milk

Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and saute onions and garlic for about 3 minutes (or until they begin to soften). Add diced tomatoes, salt, garam masala, curry powder, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a small mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.

Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in the skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Drain marinade and add chicken to skillet, cooking for about 2 minutes (flipping the pieces after 1 minute for even cooking). Add reserved sauce to pan, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 5-7 minutes (or until chicken pieces are cooked through). Remove from heat. Remove chicken from skillet with a slotted spoon. Allow sauce to cool in the pan for about 3 minutes, then add yogurt and coconut milk. Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Serve chicken over basmati rice and spoon sauce over the top.

Of course I made the chili, too. But Keith was very happy with his dinner and is ok with saving his chili for tomorrow (or for Munch!). I just wish we had leftover masala...

For more tasty, svelte recipes, try The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook! It's available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html.

1 comment:

Frau Nelson said...

Awesome, I love Basmati rice (and your recipe sounds fabulous)!

I have a little tip on the garam masala in case anyone is interested...the first time I needed garam masala it was kind of last minute, and not only did I not want to make a special trip to the store, but I didn't want to buy a whole jar in case I didn't use it often enough (old spices = unhappy spices). Luckily, I was talking to my sister that very day and she passed along a recipe (from Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet) so I could make my own. I had everything on hand!

1 part each: cloves, black pepper
2 parts each: cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin