Since moving to Camano Island, we have not found a good Indian restaurant in the vicinity. If I didn’t know better, I would think I was living among a bunch of unsophisticated plebeians, but that is simply not the case. My neighbors and others that we have met since moving here are anything but. They are well educated, erudite, and delightful. It isn’t their fault there aren’t any good Indian restaurants in the area. It’s just a matter of economics. You gotta have a customer base, or you ain’t gonna make no moolah! Economics 101!
Now granted, we have a couple of restaurants that tease us with dishes that are what I lovingly refer to as “Indian light”, but none of them have what I call a proper Indian food menu. The closest restaurant we have found that serves decent Indian food is in Anacortes, and that’s an hours’ drive from here.
So, you know me, I have now made it my mission to fill the void created by us moving from an urban area to septic tank, well water, and propane gas heaven. (And for those of you, who have never had the pleasure of living without all the utility conveniences of urban life, be prepared for the shock of your life if you move into a rural environment. Septic tank, what’s that? Well water – huh? Propane, excuse me, where’s the natural gas hook up?)
But for all the inconveniences of rural life, I would not go back to the city for all the tandoori chicken in the world. So, like I said, I am going to make it my mission in the next few months to learn how to make all the marvelous Indian dishes that Mr. C and I are so terribly missing. And by golly, I’m going to share them with you. So hang tight all you Indian food lovers, I’m on the case!
Marinade for chicken:
- 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt ( I know, Greek isn’t Indian, but I like it!)
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ -inch piece fresh ginger, minced
- 1 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 3 T. butter , divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 4 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. garam masala (buy in Indian market)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 (8-oz.) cans tomato sauce
- 2 c. whole milk or half & half
- 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Combine marinade ingredients and add chicken. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large fry pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook just until done. Do not over-cook. Remove from pan; set aside. Add the garlic & jalapeno; cook 1 minute. Stir in the coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala, salt, and tomato sauce. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cream and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Add chicken and simmer until chicken is hot. Serve over Garlic Saffron Rice (see recipe below) and garnish with cilantro.
GARLIC SAFFRON RICE
- 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 5 threads saffron
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ c. basmati rice
- 2¼ c. water
Directions if using a rice cooker:
Heat olive oil in a medium sized fry pan. Add the garlic, saffron, salt, and pepper and sauté for a minute or until the garlic releases its aroma. Add the rice and stir just until the rice is coated with the oil. Scoop into rice cooker, add water, turn on the rice cooker and step away. Rice cookers work best when they are not being supervised.
Stove top directions:
Heat olive oil in a medium sized covered saucepan. Add the garlic, saffron, salt, and pepper and sauté for a minute or until the garlic releases its aroma. Add the rice and stir just until the rice is coated with the oil. Add water and stir. Bring to a boil, stir again, then lower heat, cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Remove from heat and let stand for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and adjust seasoning before serving as the base for Chicken Tikka Masala.