I often have trouble thinking of side dishes to go with Indian food. I don’t know why, as it is all about the dals and vegetarian dishes. I guess I mostly go to it for the lamb and spicy sauces for chicken! And I was interested to read in my Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking cookbook that zucchini don’t grow in India. Most of the recipes are for cauliflower, potatoes, and eggplant. I still can’t get myself to like eggplant.
Plus, I still find Indian cooking to be complicated– it kind of hurts my brain. So if I can concentrate on the main dish (chicken tikka masala, or “Tiki Masala” after my niece) then I don’t want to think about toasting and pulsing coriander and paprika and cumin and all the rest of it when it comes to the sides…
For this plate of food, I did a marinade for the chicken the night before. The recipe said to skewer the chicken pieces and grill them, but then you lose so much sauce! I lined a vegetable grilling pan with foil and cooked the chicken pieces on the grill. Then I added it, juices and all, to the tomato mixture. I also skipped the cream called for in the dish– there was yogurt in the marinade that was in the mix at the end. I wanted the tomato flavors to dominate.
For the side, I have been dying to do some of my favorite red pepper/leek saute. It is sort of a relish (which is sort of Indian, if this weren’t so obviously Italian), and is also amazing on bruschetta or crackers. It also reminded me about pizza!! And that opened a can of worms, because I want to make mozzarella to have whey for a fermented Brussels sprouts experiment AND now I think I need to can some of that pepper/leek relish as well as use it on a pizza… (I need to buy more canning jars again!!)
Since I still have a few zucchini in the fridge, I made the tzatziki sauce again (yogurt and sour cream with mint instead of dill, shallots, and lemon juice), which is basically raita, and put it on the grilled zukes.
(And the leeks have turned out so great this year– they are thin, but I hilled them well and so the white parts go quite far up the stalk…)
Easy Chicken Tikka “Tiki’s” Masala
adapted from cooknrecipes.com recipe
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste!)
I added 1 Tbs masala spice mix here, but also garam masala would be good addition
1 Tbs minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
I added paprika to give it more of that bright pink color
1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast meat, cut in pieces
Combine these ingredients and mix with chicken in a large plastic bag for 2 hours to overnight.
1 Tbs ghee (or butter)
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 serrano or 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1-2 tsp salt
1 lb tomatoes, chopped (or 15-oz can of tomatoes)
1 cup of cream or milk (optional– a little milk or yogurt is good for creaminess)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I didn’t have– used a little coriander chutney)
You can thread the chicken on skewers and grill over pretty high heat or cook them on the stove or grill, about 5 min each side.
Melt ghee in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and hot pepper for 1 min. Season with cumin, paprika, salt. Stir in tomatos and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens (20 minutes). Add chicken and simmer 5-10 more minutes. Serve over rice garnished with cilantro. (If you add the chicken too early it will become rubbery.)
Sweet Red Pepper and Leek Relish
Chop up some red peppers (Jimmy Nardello are what I love) and even an ancho or mild green chili if you’d like. Slice up two leeks (white and light green parts only).
Saute in olive oil and a little salt until bright and fresh but peppers are softened (6-10 minutes).
In last minute, splash in some vinegar. If you’re going to can the mixture, you can add lemon juice, salt and/or more vinegar for more acidity.
Add some minced/finely chopped herbs if you’d like: dill, basil, parsley, oregano, mint would all be good. When finished, add more olive oil and vinegar to taste– depending on how you’re serving it.
Serve as an appetizer with bread, pita or crackers, use to top a pizza, or you know, just put on the side of any plate and people will love it!