Although I want to make authentic foods from the regions of the world they come from, I sometimes have to adapt ingredients because of my food intolerances. Indian food is one of the cuisines that I love, but I need to be careful not to eat it too often because of all the Yogurt and Cream that is used. So, the other night I took a recipe for Indian Chicken and used Coconut Milk instead and I loved it. The recipe was from my friend Deirdre who is an amazing cook and she is especially good with Indian food. This dish involves marinating Chicken overnight in Yogurt (although I used Coconut Milk) combined with Indian spices and Lemon. The next day, I baked the Chicken and then added it to a sauce that I made with the rest of the Coconut Milk along with canned Tomatoes and Indian Spices. I thickened the sauce with Almond Flour. I also added slices of Asian Eggplant and it was divine! I served it with Buttered Basmati Rice and couldn't eat enough! This recipe may not be authentic, but it delicious - rich and creamy and exotic with spices. If you'd rather use Yogurt, of course you can and it will be much more authentic, but I'm going to make this dish over and over again just this way!
Chicken With Tomatoes, Coconut and Indian Spices
1 pound Chicken Tenders or Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 can Coconut Milk (divided in half)
1 Tablespoon Turmeric
1 inch piece of Ginger, minced or grated
2 Garlic Cloves minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix marinade in a food processor or blender and combine with the chicken in a container that seals. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
The next day, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and pour into a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes and remove.
2 Asian Eggplants (Japanese or Chinese - long and slender) sliced into rounds and cut in half agin to make half moons if too large
3 Tablespoons Ghee
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Heat a frying pan and add the Ghee. Then add the Eggplant and sprinkle with the Salt. Cook until the Eggplant is soft, turning frequently and add to sauce.
For the Sauce:
2 Tablespoons Ghee
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 14 ounce can of chopped Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of Garam Masala
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or Kashmiri Chili
Remaining Coconut Milk (scant 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Ground Almonds
Heat Ghee in a large frying pan and add the Onion and Garlic and Spices. Cook until the Onion becomes translucent and soft. Then add in the Tomatoes, Coconut Milk, Eggplant and Salt, bring to a boil. Then add in the Chicken and the strained juices from the pan and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes then add in the Ground Almonds to thicken. Serve with buttered Basmati Rice.
For Garnish: Fresh chopped Cilantro
Five Element Analysis
Chicken belongs to the Wood Element, so that element is covered. The Tomatoes and Cayenne contribute the Fire Element. The Eggplant brings in the Water Element and the Coconut Milk makes sure the Earth Element is present as well. And finally, the Spices, Cilantro and the Rice add in the Metal Element. This ends up being a balanced Five Element dish!