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Chicken Tikka Cashew
I'm a little hesitant to post this recipe tonight as I suspect that it is not as developed as it should be, but I had a good idea tonight that I thought I'd share in case there's maybe a sharper pencil in the box out there that might be able to build on this a little and improve it.

I used to really HATE indian food.  You know what indian food used to taste like to me?  It used to taste like someone dredged raw chicken on the forest floor somewhere and just kept all the sticks and nuts and leaves that stuck to it on it while they fried the damn thing and then smattered it with yogurt and called it tasty.  I had tasted tandoori, I had tasted basmati rice, but none of it really did much to impress me, in fact the only thing I really enjoyed about indian food was the Nan.  

But a new indian joint came to cbus that completley changed my attitude towards indian food--Aab india.  Instead of the stick stuck chicken thighs and noodle like basmati rice that I was used to seeing in other indian joints around cbus, their entrees are very saucy and thick, and have just the right blend of spices without necessarily being nuclear (although I typically order it that way).

I taught myself how to cook chineese because I really like chineese food.  When I fell in love with Thai food, it only really took a small amount of taste intuition to recognizes the flavors of typical Thai ingredients such as lemongrass, fish sause, and curry paste, so all my chineese dishes quickly turned to Thai.  But my favorite dishes at aab india have challenged me because the texture is so much different than anything else.  My favorite dish at Aab is Chicken Tikka Marsala, which is described as "Lightly broiled chicken in a savory tomato, onion and butter sauce" , but my tastebuds tell me that this is not the whole story.  There's something else that makes this dish thicker, more savory--a distinctly pleasant texture that's somewhere between fluffy and almost sandy, something not easy to discern when you're someone with 36 years of the american food experience.

It would be easy for me to just shrug my shoulders and say it's a mystery I'll never solve--believe me, if I knew how to cook that way, I'd be the 700 pound woman in a rascal wearing the "I'm too sexy for my moo moo" uni-dress.  But the problem is, I don't let these things go very easy--if I THINK I can figure it out, imma gonna try!  I've seen these dudes from Aab pushing carts full of groceries from Giant eagle through the snow back to Aab so I know the stuff I'm eating at Aab is the stuff they've bought from the same store that I buy hamburgers and mac n cheese from, so what do they know that I don't know?  What are they using?  

So naturally, the thing to do is google this stuff, right? doubtlessly has a recipe from SOMEBODY that comes damn close to what they fix in the restraunt . . . problem is, I don't exactly have access to my magical google powers all the time.  In fact, as soon as I hit the door my four year old usually sticks his hand out for my iPhone like *he's* the one who let *me* borrow it.  And my computer?  psh, she cranky--she havin' problems with her harddrive so it's not exactly real quick on the draw with anything any more.  So tonight when I had a hankering, I kinda got this idea . . . . the texture of Aab india's Chicken Tikka Marsala actually comes pretty close to the cashew califlower soup recipe I found in that "experience life" magazine (recipe is on this blog somewhere, I know) . . .what if I kind of did a mash up of the Raunchy Chicken Soup . . . and the cauliflower soup . . . but added curry?

Chicken Tikka cashew

2 chicken breasts
tablespoon of minced garlic
2 carrots, chopped into coins
2 ribs celery, chopped into whateverthefuckitiscelerylookslikechopped
1/4 cup of curry (that's alot I know, but a) curry gets thick and fluffy as it cooks and b) I like my spices STRONG)
grated fresh ginger
ground cashews
4 cups chicken broth (not bullion)

add about 2tbs of cooking oil to a deep pot and cook the carrots, celery and garlic together until the carrots are soft.  add the chicken, grate fresh ginger over the mixture and cook the chicken until it is obviously, well, not raw anymore.  Add the 4 cups of chicken broth (and you know, I'm usually the first person to say go ahead and just put 2 cubes of buillion and 4 cups of water in the mix, but bullion is SUPER salty, and broth just adds a softer texture to the meal).  while this is all boiling together on the stove, take about 1 cup of roasted, salted cashews and dump them in your hamilton beach blender and set it on high until the cashews are powdery.  after the broth mixture has reduced down by about a 1/4th, add the cashews to the mix.  If it's too watery, add more cashews and if you're feeling fancy and have this in your cabinet, you can also thicken it up with coconut milk.  my instincts tell me that you could probably also use plain greek yogurt to thicken the mixture instead of coconut milk, but you'd have to turn the heat off completely and serve it right away or else it would curdle.  

serve all this over Jasmine rice and you've got something that's maybe not authentic but does mostly satisfy that craving for something different on a weekday night.  


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