Friday, July 7, 2017

Chicken Tikka Masala


Chicken Marinade:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Bamboo or wooden skewers

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric 
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 10 ounces water 
  • 9 ounces cream
Chopped coriander, to garnish
Basmati rice and naan, to serve

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.


Slice the chicken into chunks, then combine the chicken with the rest of the chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Mix until evenly coated, cover with plastic, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.  Soak bamboo skewers for a half hour.

Skewer the marinated chicken pieces on bamboo skewers, then place them over a baking dish with sides high enough to hold the chicken off the bottom of the pan to help distribute the heat more evenly.  Bake for about 15 minutes until slightly dark brown on the edges and the meat has reached 160 degrees.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then sauté the onions.  Once the onions are translucent, add both the ginger and garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Add in the spices for the sauce and cook for a short while to release their aromatics and flavor, stirring constantly.  Then, stir in the tomato paste.  Finally, add the tomato sauce and water, then bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and stir thoroughly.  Add in the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with Basmati rice and naan!

Myrtle's Note: Oh, my!  Was this ever a pleasant surprise!!  I was a bit surprised at all the garlic I needed, but it does not overwhelm the dish.  What I like most is the layering of flavors in it between the seasoning of the chicken and the seasoning of the sauce.  A dish that made me think that I was in a restaurant!

Yield:  8 servings

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chicken Shawarma

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 large thighs)
  • 6-8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Slice the chicken breasts into 5-6 pieces each and the thighs into 3-4 pieces each and set aside.

In a glass bowl large enough to marinate the chicken, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, the spices, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Then add the chicken pieces and stir until all of them are evenly coated in the marinade. Cover the marinating dish with plastic wrap. Place chicken in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking oil. Place the chicken pieces on the sheet, evenly spaced.  

Place the chicken in the oven. Let it roast for about 15 minutes till cooked through (reaches 160 degrees), turning the chicken pieces once with tongs halfway through the cooking period.

Take chicken out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Use a sharp knife to slice the meat into small, thin shawarma-like pieces.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium. Pour one third to half of the chicken into the skillet and sauté several minutes till the smallest pieces of chicken turn brown and crisp. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Repeat the process, adding more oil when needed, with the next batch of chicken.  And with the third if you divide it that way.  Whilst working, put the sautéed chicken pieces in foil to keep them warm.
Serve warm with dishes such as chicken tikka masala, baba ganoush, toum, labneh, lemon basil humus, and naan.

Myrtle's Note:  This was part of my 50th birthday celebration meal that I cooked with two of my friends.  True shawarma is made by roasting meat on a spit, but this gives you the feel of the dish in a rather tasty manner.  The recipe author is adamant about using a combination of boneless, skinless chicken breast and boneless chicken thighs instead of just the breast meat to add some fat to the recipe.  I am not a thigh meat gal, but I followed the instructions and all who consumed the meal agreed that this mock shawarma was mighty tasty.  We were so very intent on eating all the tasty food, I forgot to take a photo of just the chicken shawarma.  But we did grab a shot of my friends plate before she started chowing down!

Yield:  8 servings


Wednesday, July 5, 2017


  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups sunflower oil chilled
  • 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt


Before you begin, place your oil in the freezer or refrigerator so that it is chilled, but still liquid. While the oil chills, remove the ends from your garlic cloves, split them in half and remove any green layers from inside. In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, salt, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the ice cold water.

Process until smooth, then stop and scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula.

Turn the food processor back on and drizzle the chilled canola oil through the top as SLOWLY as possible, one cup at a time. If you don't have a steady hand I suggest putting the oil in a squeeze bottle and drizzling it in that way. After each cup of oil, add 1 tbsp each of the lemon juice and cold water.

Scrape down the sides of the food processor as necessary. Be sure that your processor does not get too hot, as this can cause your sauce to separate.

Add oil until you've reached the texture you desire. The final result should resemble a soft mayonnaise. Store toum in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe makes a pretty big batch, but it should keep for up to 4 weeks and it can be used on so many things. You'll be happy you have extra. Enjoy!

Myrtle's Note:  This was exactly like the white garlic sauce that I have had in Lebanese restaurants.  It  did not last very long for me before separating.  I do not know if that is because I didn't emulsify it enough or because this was my first batch.  I mixed up the separated toum again and it tasted just fine.  A lot of folk consider it middle eastern mayonnaise.  It goes so well with meat, but also combined with other middle easter food on pieces of naan, such as chicken shawarmababa ganoush, lemon basil hummus, and labneh.

Yield:  3 cups