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Single (and cooking) in the City

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chicken

(Nothing like) Chicken Tikka Masala and Aloo Gobi

…and I mean it. It’s nothing like the chicken tikka masala and aloo gobi I have at my favorite Indian place Surya and default neighborhood joint Sonali. (Ouch, no love, Yelp?)

But when I had a bowl of half an onion leftover from God knows when (but not fuzzy, yay!), and still more roast chicken leftovers, I decided to try to make chicken that would taste good with the only Indian dish I can make somewhat well, aloo gobi. Aloo gobi… my all time favorite. I always order this whenever I go to an Indian restaurant. And chicken tikka masala was what I had for my first Indian meal, at a little hole in the wall near my high school, Stuyvesant.

I’d spent some off-time during the day browsing recipes for chicken tikka masala and decided I could probably make do with the spices I had and… when did I buy that little tub of cream that is still sitting in the fridge? Shake test proves: still liquid, good! Sniff test proves: not stinky, perfect! I gathered into my arms, my little pile of old-but-not-yet-moldy ingredients. And here, my chicken tikka masala and aloo gobi inspired dinner. Let’s start with what I know:

Aloo Gobi

  • cauliflower
  • 1/4 of an onion, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • tomato paste
  • spices needed: cumin seeds, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, chili powder, paprika, ground coriander, garam masala

Heat oil in a pot, and when hot, add cumin seeds. Sautee for a bit, making sure it doesn’t burn, and add the onions, then tomato and tomato paste. Toss in the cauliflower, with a little bit of water, stick a lid on it and wait until cauliflower is almost soft, and then add all the other spices (I scoop each out with a 1/4 tsp and sometimes add more cumin because I like the taste), except for garam masala. When everything is well mixed up you can either add a bit of peas, or skip that and season with salt. Sprinkle a bit of garam masala as a finish.

“Chicken Tikka Masala”

  • leftover chicken (already cooked)
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • tomato paste
  • a slice of ginger
  • spices used: cumin seeds, cumin, curry powder, ground coriander, garam masala
  • a splash of cream

Start the same way with aloo gobi: heat oil, cumin seeds, onion, tomato, and a bit of tomato paste. Add the slice of ginger and seasonings, using the 1/4 tsp again. Add water to the pot if it looks too dry, and toss in the chicken. While it is heating up, splash a bit of cream into, salt to taste.

Easy! And completely the wrong way to do it. It tasted nothing like chicken tikka masala. Just an Indian flavored shredded chicken dish. And that rice…? Another leftover from takeout that passed the sniff and texture (fuzz free) test. Tonight would’ve been a great night to get some proper Indian food! Anyone looking for a date?

Penne with Chicken and Broccoli

No photo because… it’s just not that pretty. But if it could look as delicious as it tastes… I’d be posting up some image of a magnificent pasta dish at Marea. Ok no, definitely not of the same caliber as Marea at all. (That place is MAGNIFICENT.) Perhaps… 4 or 5 levels down from there. But definitely better than Olive Garden.

I used the leftover white meat from the previous roast chicken. Didn’t I tell you it’d be a good idea to KISS (keep it simple… silly) the chicken? The dark meat I had already prepared and consumed a couple of days earlier by dousing it in some Brother Jimmy’s bbq sauce (free from when the midtown? location first opened up!) and reheating it in the oven (475, 10 minutes). So this time, I tore off a small piece and rough chopped it up to toss in the sauce. Here is the recipe. And I guess I should make a note that this single girl usually only entertains herself at home, so all portions are for (the very unlonely and fiercely fabulous and independent) one.

Penne with Chicken and Broccoli

  • 1 plum tomato
  • tomato paste, about a round teaspoon
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • shredded and already cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup of penne pasta
  • broccoli, however much you want
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt

While the water is boiling and salted, toss the pasta in for 5 minutes, then toss the broccoli in. Drain after 2 minutes. The pasta will be perfectly al dente. Reserve a bit of pasta water, this will be used if the sauce turns out too dry.

Heat up some olive oil and toss in a chopped plum tomato and the tomato paste. Get your potato masher and mush up the tomato after a few to make a paste in the pan. Toss in the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and basil. When the pasta and broccoli is done, toss the chicken in the pan, swish around a bit, and add the pasta and broccoli. Add the pasta water now if it is too dry. Grate in some parmesan cheese while the flavor of the sauce and pasta is mingling and the chicken is warmed up.

Serve it up in a pretty pasta bowl!

Easy Roast Chicken

After a two day defrost in the fridge, I decided to change the original plan, which was to make chicken soup for a sick day, and instead try something different… a roast!

I’m not the biggest fan of chicken because it tends to be mostly bland and dry, but I do love the rotisserie chicken at Boston Market. And barbeque chicken. Unfortunately after googling “Boston Market chicken” and turning up mostly bogus recipes, I decided to go simple and virtually fool-proof. If anything, I could use the leftovers for barbeque chicken or pasta.

Easy Roast Chicken

  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • olive oil

Wrestle, twist, and chop the neck and feet off the chicken if you have a ghetto Asian chicken like mine. (Yep, they sell chicken with the HEAD still attached at the Chinese markets!) Remove the organs on the inside, rinse, and pat dry. Drizzle and rub the olive oil all over the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stuff some thyme in the butt. Bake at 425 for about an hour, or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty thigh reads 165.

I was not joking about the “simple.”