Chicken Tikka Masala

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I'm ill. My kidney periodically will begin throbbing. It's a slow pain that progresses into sharp stabs. I've been feeling it for some time now, grabbing my pain killers and waiting for the pain to subside. My first test came back inconclusive and I'll be heading in later today for another. It's most likely a very large stone that is stuck in my kidney, unable to make it's way out.

The waiting is the worst, right? It's like every possible outcome rushes through your mind. I have scolded myself every time I google for answers. "This is not something I can do anything about. Just wait for the tests."

The whole thing has left me feeling a little on edge. The stress has left me worn. I'm making it a point to pray more rather than think about it; not let it consume me. Pain always does, right? It's hard not to stress when your body is like "No, for real, pay attention to this! Something is WRONG!"

I find a lot of joy in cooking. Times when I'm pain-free (more and more these last few days!) I am thrilled to work and cook. And these days it's all about the comfort food. I think it's funny, but "comfort food" to me is not cheesy or deep fried. Comfort food to me is Thai, Indian, or Chinese food. I like the heat and the rice. So, this is what I made the moment I felt well enough to do so. It's an old favorite of mine, that can be made lowfat, but now that I don't have a gallbladder to worry about, I always make it FULL fat.

Ingredients: 3 chicken breasts 1 c. plain yogurt (sub lowfat yogurt) 1 tbs lemon juice 2 tsp cumin 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp cayenne 2 tsp ground black pepper 1 tsp ground ginger (or 1" fresh piece, minced) 3 tsp salt 8 oz can of tomato sauce 1 c. heavy cream (sub nonfat half & half) 1 1/2 c. basmati rice + 3 c. water cilantro or basil to garnish

Mix yogurt, lemon juice and spices in a medium bowl until fully blended. Cut chicken into strips or cubes about 1/2" in thickness and toss with the yogurt mixture, covering the chicken completely. Let rest in refrigerator about 20 minutes while you cook your rice.

Heat a large skillet to med-high heat. Pour chicken and yogurt into pan, stirring often to prevent curdling. Once chicken is fully cooked (6-8 minutes), add your tomato sauce and heavy cream. Cook 1 minute to heat cream, stirring frequently.

Garnish with basil or cilantro.

Serves 4

If this is too spicy, sub out the cayenne for another tsp chili. If it's too mild, vice versa.

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Most of these items are in my house all the time anyway, so this is a meal we eat often. The yogurt makes the chicken incredibly tender and the spices are ordinary but flavor the chicken perfectly. Try it!

Kasey