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Posts Tagged ‘Rice’

 

We enjoy ethnic food and love cooking it at home. I first made this Chicken Tikka Masala from Cook’s Illustrated a couple of years ago and was so impressed that I was able to make such a delicious Indian dish at home.

Although the recipe does have quite a few ingredients and multiple steps, it is fairly easy. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never tried anything like this at home! The sauce and chicken are cooked separately and stirred together in the end. The chicken is dipped in yogurt and broiled which yields tender meat with nice charred spots. While the chicken cooks, the masala sauce simmers. The sauce has a nice, slow burning heat thanks to a serrano chili. If spice isn’t your thing, substitute a milder pepper or omit it all together.

The only substitution that I made to the original recipe was to sub the heavy cream in the sauce for plain yogurt. I thought that the plain yogurt would work well in this dish to add creaminess based on my success with this Curry and Yogurt Braised Chicken that we love. It turned out just as tasty as I hoped and the plain nonfat yogurt provided guilt-free creaminess.

I served the tikka masala over brown rice with naan on the side. Naan is a must for dipping into the delicious sauce. I usually make homemade naan but was pressed for time so I used Trader Joe’s naan. It was passable but Brandon and I both agreed that the homemade is much better.

One final note, this dish reheats well. It’s one of those things that has even more flavor the second time around. Whether you love Indian food or have never made it at home, this is an awesome recipe to try!

One Year Ago: Nutella Croissants
Two Years Ago: Maple Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Chicken Tikka Masala
(Recipe source Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CHICKEN
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat (I only used two large breasts and it was fine)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used fat free)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

FOR THE MASALA SAUCE
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream or plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I omitted)

Directions:

FOR THE CHICKEN (STEP ONE)
In a small bowl, stir together cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture and press gently to adhere. Cover chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. While chicken is in fridge, in large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger.

FOR THE MASALA SAUCE
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste and garam masala and continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream or yogurt and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

FOR THE CHICKEN (STEP TWO)
While sauce is simmering, Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over it. Spray rack with cooking spray. Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heat) and pre-heat broiler. Dip chicken into the yogurt mixture (you’re looking for a thick coating of yogurt) then arrange chicken on the wire rack. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

TO ASSEMBLE
Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut into 1-inch chunks. Stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, season with salt to taste and serve over rice with naan.

Yield: 4-6 servings

 

 

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 45

This might seem like a strange combination but just trust me on this one – it’s good. What was not good was my decision to start this risotto at 8:45 after I got home from yoga. I was so hungry I didn’t know if I’d make it through all the stirring! Risotto isn’t hard, it just requires constant attention and a block of time. I was expecting this risotto to be a simple weeknight dinner but it really surprised me. The flavors green pea and bacon flavors were great together and the addition of lemon zest and juice at the end added an unexpected brightness. I also really appreciated not having to open a bottle of wine to make this dish!

Unhappy to report that my left leg is not getting much better. After my run on Monday it was swollen and sore. Boo. I planned on running the RaceFest Half Marathon in April but that’s not looking good for me unless my leg starts feeling better. I’ve taken the rest of the week off of running but I’m going to test it out again this weekend to see how it’s feeling. The high here is 60 degrees on Saturday and Sunday and I can’t wait to get outside! It’s been such a cold and wet winter. I’m going to embrace the two days of nice weather to the fullest!

I taught BodyPump tonight and felt like pushing it a bit. Went super heavy on my weights for squats and back and hamstrings. Maybe the Olympics are inspiring me to be a better BodyPumper!? ;) (Seriously – did you see Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn win their gold medals? Amazing!)

And time for bed…up early tomorrow for my 6:30 hot vinyasa class. Can’t wait! Hope I’m not feeling too sore from BodyPump.

Risotto with Bacon and Green Peas
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2009)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 bacon slice, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced (my addition – omit if desired!)
2/3 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup frozen green peas
4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small saucepan.

In a separate heavy saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic to bacon fat in pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat.

Add 1/4 cup hot broth mixture and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Make sure each addition has been absorbed before adding the next. Rice is done when tender and creamy but al dente, about 20-22 minutes. You might not have to use all of your broth but  reserve leftover broth mixture to thin the ristotto before plating.

Add peas and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Stir in cheese, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Thin risotto with some of reserved broth mixture if desired and season with salt and pepper. Top with bacon.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 36

This vegetarian goodness was warmly welcomed after a weekend of splurging for Charlotte Restaurant Week. Friday night we went to BLT Steak and Saturday night we went to Sullivan’s. Both meals were delicious but very indulgent!

I taught BodyPump on Saturday morning and was very excited to have a great crowd! Love seeing people up and knocking out their workouts on Saturdays. Later that morning Brandon and I headed over to Y2 Yoga for a power 1 class. Saturday was Yoga Day USA so I couldn’t miss out on practicing! I headed over to Y2 again today for hot yoga. I’m happy to report that I practiced 6 out of 7 days this week!

After yoga I was famished. This dinner was so easy to put together and a nice change from all the steakhouse dinners we enjoyed this weekend. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite curry that I’ve ever made but was still very good. My favorite vegetarian curry is still this Butternut Squash Curry which also happens to be from Gourmet!

Heading to bed early tonight…teaching BodyPump at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Coconut Red Lentil Curry
(Recipe source Gourmet, December 2006)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, finely diced, including seeds
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (about 10 ounces)
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (I used lite)
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), diced
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs (omitted, cilantro is Brandon’s least favorite herb!)

Steamed brown or white rice, for serving

Directions:

Heat oil in a 3-4 quart heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and chili pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in water or broth, lentils and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and then cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in zucchini and simmer, covered, until lentils and zucchini are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and serve over rice with cilantro sprigs scattered on top.

Yield: 6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 5

jeweledrice

I was tasked with bringing a starch side dish to a family dinner last weekend. Brandon was cooking a turkey breast on the Big Green Egg as our meat. I decided not to make anything potato based since Thanksgiving is coming up so soon. I found this rice recipe when I was researching recipes for 68 Days of Gourmet and thought it sounded different. Brandon isn’t the biggest fan of rice but I love it. He also isn’t the biggest fan of dried fruit but I love that too. I thought our family dinner was the perfect time to try this since I would have a larger audience who would appreciate my rice and dried fruit side dish!

The method for preparing this rice is really different. Read the recipe directions below and you’ll see what I mean. I was pretty nervous about the final product turning out but I trusted the recipe and it turned out exactly right. I was scared the crust would be a burned mess but it was perfectly golden. The butter drenched toasted almonds on top were the perfect finish.

This rice is a great side dish for richly spiced pork and chicken and complemented our turkey breast well too. The leftovers were great with the Spiced Chicken I made for dinner on Tuesday night. A note, this recipe makes a ton of rice so you may want to half it if you’re feeding a smaller crowd.

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruit
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, November 2004)

Ingredients:

3 cups basmati rice
4 quarts water
3 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup dried apricots (3 1/2 oz), quartered (I omitted these)
1/2 cup golden raisins (3 oz)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (2 oz)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup slivered unsalted roasted almonds

Directions:

Rinse rice in several changes of cold water in a large bowl until water runs clear. Drain in a large sieve.

Bring water and salt to a boil in a 6-quart heavy pot. Add rice and boil, uncovered for about 5 minutes – starting from the time the rice starts to boil. Stir occasionally. Drain in sieve.

Mix together dried fruit in a bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a cleaned and dried pot. Stir in cardamom and pepper and combine. Alternate layers of rice and dried fruit over the butter mixture, beginning and ending with rice. Mound loosely, don’t pack it in. Make 5 or 6 holes in rice to bottom of pot with round handle of a wooden spoon. Wrap lid of pot in a kitchen towel, folding edges of towel up and over the lid (keeping towel away from burner). Cook rice over low heat, undisturbed, until tender and a crust forms on bottom, about 30 to 35 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the rice is cooking. Remove from heat and let rice stand, tightly covered and undisturbed, at least 30 minutes.

While rice is resting, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat and cook almonds, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon loose rice onto a platter, then break crust into 1-inch pieces and scatter over rice. Sprinkle with almonds.

Yield: 10-12 side dish servings

Notes:
*Rice can stand off heat up to 1 hour. Just keep covered and undisturbed
* If you’re short on time, you can skip letting the rice stand after cooking. Spoon loose rice onto a platter and then dip bottom of pot into a large bowl of cold water for 30 seconds to loosen crust.

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thaibasilchicken

We visited my family in Atlanta last weekend. While we were there we stopped by the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. It’s not really a farmer’s market but it is a mecca for foodies. They have a huge and varied selection of vegetables, fruits, seafood, cheeses, meats…the list goes on and on. This was Brandon’s first trip and he was taken in by the chili selection. We ended up coming home with four or five different types of chili peppers so you’ll notice a recurring theme in my next few blog posts as I try to find inventive ways to use them.

Today I decided to use the Thai Chilies (also known as prik kee noo). I did some research this morning and landed on Spicy Thai Basil Chicken. This is a pretty basic Thai dish but I thought it’d be fun to make at home with our chilies. I ended up using a combination of two recipes and was pleased with the outcome. I was pretty scared that this dish would be over the top spicy (since I used about 8 chilies and they’re supposed to be a 9 in hotness on a 1-10 scale) but the spice was very manageable. It was a nice slow and constant burn.

If you’re a fan of Thai stir fries and like a little spice I highly recommend this recipe for an easy weeknight meal. I served it over jasmine rice.

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken
(Recipe inspired by Andrea Meyers and Thai Food and Travel)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow, green – whatever you have)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
8 Thai chilies, sliced into then rounds (can substitute serrano or jalepeno if necessary)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
15 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Jasmine rice, for serving

Directions:

Heat a large skilled over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Add garlic, shallots and peppers and saute for about 1 minute. Add chicken and chilies and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, water and basil leaves and cook for another minute or two. Stir in cornstarch/water mixture and cook for another minute, until thickened.

Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

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blackbeansrice250

Part two of last night’s delicious grilled shrimp taco dinner. This is pretty much my go-to black beans and rice recipe. I’m almost always guaranteed to have all the ingredients in my pantry and it’s simple, good and always a great side dish for Mexican night. And be warned…this recipe makes a ton!

Black Beans and Rice
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced
1 fresh pepper, seeded and diced (like jalapeno or habanero, or substitute diced canned jalapenos or red pepper flakes – use what you have!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
1 cup rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and cook for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is softened.

Stir in tomatoes, water, rice and salt. Bring mixture to a boil and then stir in black beans. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, until water absorbed and rice is tender. Don’t peak until the 20 minutes are up!

Remove from heat and let stand about 5-10 minutes (still covered) before serving.

Yield: 6-8 side dish servings

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scallops

The last few weeks I have been traveling for work and putting crazy hours in. Last weekend was my first weekend off in three weeks and I just wanted to hang out at home and relax. We planned a “date night” at home on Friday night and I really wanted to try something a little fancier than what I make on weeknights. Think fine dining-esque.

We thought about it all day on Friday and browsed through a few cookbooks. We finally landed on sea scallops. One of my very favorite things to order in nice restaurants is seared sea scallops over risotto. So off I went to Whole Foods after work with a mission of creating a delicious scallop dish.

I ended up with six beautiful sea scallops, fresh spinach and prosciutto de parma. When I got home I turned to my trusty Joy of Cooking (seriously, if you do not own a copy – buy one! most useful cookbook ever!) and used their “Simplest Risotto” for my risotto.

I loosely followed a recipe from The Newlyweds Cookbook for the scallops. I finished it all off with wilted spinach and a balsamic reduction.

This is a great special occasion recipe. I was really, really pleased with how it came out. The scallops were a cinch and the risotto…well…risotto is a labor of love. You have to commit to stirring (a good job to assign the man)! I highly recommend you give this a try if you’re looking for a special Valentine’s day dinner (or any date-worthy occasion).

Simplest Risotto
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups Italian rice
1/2 cup white wine (can sub chicken stock)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter or heat olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook over low heat until soft and translucent but not browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, simmer the chicken stock over medium heat.

Increase the heat on the onions to medium and stir in the rice. Using broad strokes, stir the rice until it looks chalky and you can see a white dot in the center of each grain, about three minutes.

Stir in white wine and continue stirring to prevent sticking until all wine has been absorbed. Then start stirring in the stock, 1 cup at a time. Each cup must be absorbed before the next is added. Stir the risotto continuously to prevent sticking. When 6 cups of stock have been absorbed, add the stock 1/2 cup at a time and start tasting the rice. It should be tender but still a little firm to the bite, not mushy.

Take the risotto off the heat when the rice still has a little more resistance than you’d like and fold in butter and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.

Let risotto stand for a moment and then serve immediately.

Seared Scallops with Crispy Prosciutto
(Adapted from The Newlyweds Cookbook)

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp olive oil
6-8 sea scallops (3 or 4 per person)
8 slices prosciutto, roughly chopped
1 bag of baby spinach, optional
salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium to medium high heat in a medium saute pan. Add prosciutto and saute until crispy, 3-4 minutes. Make sure to have the exhaust fan on, the prosciutto will smoke. Drain on a plate line with paper towels.

Wipe out pan and heat another 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat . Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to hot skillet. Sear 2-3 minutes per side (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your scallops). They should be golden on both sides.

When you remove the scallops from the pan  you can throw a bag of spinach in the leftover olive oil and heat until lightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp brown sugar, to taste

Directions:

Bring vinegar to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer until it’s reduced by about 1/2. Add in the sugar and let simmer until thickened. Remove from heat. Will thicken more as it cools. Watch the mixture carefully to prevent scorching while simmering.

To plate everything…

Place risotto and spinach on plate side-by-side. Arrange scallops on overlap between spinach and risotto. Sprinkle with crispy prosciutto. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

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