Israeli Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Garlic and Sumac Sauce

anmimic1I love, love, love this recipe. So often chicken turns out dry. So often, when we’re trying to avoid starches (breading), meatballs have this dry, grainy texture. Not with this recipe. Plus, it is packed with flavor. Then there’s the ridiculously delicious sauce. As wonderful as the meatballs are, and they are, the sauce is the shining star of this dish. With a base of sour cream and thick greek yogurt, it too can be a healthy addition to any diet (even a low cab one) if you use it in moderation.  Continue reading

Chicken Tikka Masala

I’m posting this one with no photo mostly because I had some friends request the recipe. It is suitable for the maintenance phase of a low-carb lifestyle so long as you omit the rice. I choose to pair it with a leafy veg side dish and if I’m feeling celebratory I will maybe have a small piece of low carb bread to go with it. If you want a bread that doesn’t taste low carb I like the to toast HALF a piece of the “light Original Flat out Wraps” which comes to 3 grams of carbs after you sub out the fiber. Seriously, it tastes like bread, I don’t know how they do it.

This recipe is fairly heavy on cream but I’ll make no apologies. I think full fat dairy is delicious, satisfying, and very filling. You won’t have to eat much of this dish to be properly full for a long time especially if you pair it with a good side of veggies. I never use food coloring because I find it unnecessary but if you want to be more authentic you can add 1/4 tsp tandoori food coloring to the chicken marinade which you can purchase at most Indian grocers. My version of this recipe isn’t strictly authentic anyways, so if you’re a purist, consider yourself warned. I’ve also omitted most of the chilli pepper heat to make it more palatable to my milk-mouthed husband and also to children. Feel free to spice it back up with some cayenne or any other powdered peppers you prefer.

The spice mixes can all be purchased at World Spice Merchants. If you’re lucky enough to live near Seattle, they have a shop at Pike Place Market. You can also order online and I’ve included links below, just click on the spices in the recipe.

Marinade the day before:

  • 1/2 Tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs kashmiri garam masala – ground (you can use regular garam masala if you like but I prefer the kashmiri version)
  • 1 Tbs tikka masala spice mix – ground
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 lemon – grated
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
  • 2″ section of ginger – peeled and thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1/2 cup cilantro – roughly chopped stems and all
  • 1/2 cup full fat plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works very well)
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs chicken breast – cubed about 1 to 1.5 inches
  • salt to taste (if you grill over propane I like to use some alderwood smoked salt to give it better flavor)
  1. Into a food processor add the paprika through cilantro and pulse until everything finely chopped. Make sure the ginger and garlic have no large pieces left. Add the yogurt and pulse into a paste. Add to the cubed chicken breast and mix thoroughly. Chill and marinade overnight.

Grilling and Stewing – the day of:

  • 1 recipe chicken tikka (above) marinated from the day before
  • 1 Tbs olive oil or ghee
  • 1 small onion – finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot (or half an american shallot) – finely chopped
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed and then minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbs Tikka Masala spice mix – ground
  • 1x 14 oz can of finely diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbs kashmiri garam masala – ground
  • a pinch of coconut sugar (optional)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (you can substitute up to a few tablespoons of it with 2% or whole milk)
  • 1 Tbs ground almonds
  • salt to taste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  1. Put your chicken on skewers (pre-soak if using wooden ones) and grill over low-medium heat to cook with minimal charring but so that the chicken is cooked through. Reserve the left over marinade.
  2. Into a deep walled, heavy pan over low-medium heat cook the onions and cardamom until the onions become translucent and begin to brown, stirring often.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute then add the tikka masala and cinnamon. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute or until the spices warm and become fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften, loose shape, and the sauce becomes thick and almost paste-like. This may take 30 minutes or more, lower the heat if necessary to prevent sticking to the pan or burning.
  5. Add the garam masala and coconut sugar (optional) and then the cream, almonds, and the grilled chicken masala. Stir and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the chicken is warmed through.
  6. Add salt to taste and serve garnished with cilantro. If you can have brown basmati rice as part of your diet or whole-wheat naan bread serve accordingly. Low-carb substitutes would be cauliflower rice or 1/2 a light original flat out wrap (toasted).

Kitchen Magic: Chicken Galantine

Deboned and stuffed chicken.

The de-boning of the chicken is probably more complex than I can explain with pictures. So here’s a video with Chef Pepin showing you how to do it. I’m pretty sure the guy could bend pennies with his hands. Don’t be too intimidated though. My first attempt took a bit of time and I had to re-watch parts of the video below. By the time I used his technique on my second chicken, things went very smoothly. The other good news, I did a reasonably good enough job on both that I was proud to serve them to friends. Continue reading

Chicken soup: Feeding the heart and soul

Home-made Chicken Stock

*note this post was written on 1/04/13 but because of the craziness of being home after a long hospital visit I didn’t get around to finishing it and publishing it until today.

We had a very eventful new year’s. My loving husband, known here as Thogg, was rushed to the emergency room. We thought it was appendicitus, the doctors worried about gallstones and it turned out to be an obstruction in his small intestine. Long story short, he is finally home after spending the first 4 days of the year in the hospital. I can finally do some laundry, take a real shower, and give the fuzzy family members some real TLC. Our cats didn’t really notice our absence, other than that they didn’t get wet food for a few days but our loving English Labrador is, understandably, a little put out. He has spent the last several hours snuggled at my feet, whether I am standing in the kitchen cooking or sitting here typing.

My first order of business after cleaning the house a bit, doing dishes, and unloading all the things I’d brought to the hospital to keep Thogg occupied was to find something he could eat. For today, he is on a liquids only diet. Tomorrow and the rest of the weekend will be soft foods. Monday he can have meat again. I decided to kill several birds with one stone and make some chicken broth. Tonight he will have clear broth, tomorrow I will use some of it to make rice congee and on monday he can have Pho and maybe congee with chicken meat.

Continue reading