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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tikka masala chicken couscous (British - Indian)

A classic chicken dish of Indian origin, with small chicken chunks in a lightly spiced masala (masala means "spice-mix" and it's very likely to find very different blends under the same name - just as it is with garam masala) tomato sauce, with a very becoming side-dish of couscous, an oriental favorite. 

The Tikka Masala chicken is nowadays so popular in the United Kingdom, that it led to controversies regarding this being Britain's true national dish. Tasting it, you'll surely understand why it is eaten so much.

Note: the addition of couscous (with mushrooms, cranberries and pickled ginger) is our own, although very likely to be found in traditional settings also (given the oriental origin of couscous).

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250 g chicken breast (boneless and skinless)
  • 10-15 dried cranberries
  • 200 g golden mushrooms (extremely thin ones)
  • 200 g couscous
  • 200 ml chicken stock 
  • 25 g pickled ginger (ginger chunks marinated in vinegar for at least 1 week)
  • 2 tablespoons tikka masala paste (common in both Asian-style and regular supermarkets)

Peel the onion and cut it in slices. Heat the olive oil in a wok and add the onion:

Put the dried cranberries in a glass with a little water to soak:

After the onion pieces get soft (in about 5 minutes), add the chicken (sliced into bite-size chunks):

Let the whole thing fry for 10-15 minutes (turning the chicken pieces or stirring once in a while) or until the meat is cooked through. Meanwhile, heat up the chicken broth (it must be hot but not boiling). When the chicken pieces in the wok are done, add the tikka masala paste:

Stir to coat everything, then add the pickled ginger:

Also add the mushrooms and drained cranberries:

Then, turn off the heat, add the couscous and the hot chicken stock:

Cover with a lid or a large plate (not all the wok, just cover above the food level). Let the couscous soak up and absorb all the liquid; it will take about 10 minutes. 
It's done, dig in! 

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