Tikka Masala; The lighter version

I love curry. It doesn't matter if it's Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai, Japanese style: I love every version of Curry that I've ever eaten. My only problem is that most restaurant curries are LOADED with clarified butter, and oil, and sometimes cream (either dairy or from coconuts). Because of this, I try not to overdo my curry consumption. I can, however, get around the unwanted fat, by making a few of my own-MUCH LIGHTER-versions at home.

Today I'm making Chicken Tikka Masala. This recipe takes a little time and has a few steps, but I promise you that it is absolutely worth the effort.If you'd like a vegetarian version, simply substitute in 1 Lb. SMOKED TOFU for the chicken.

"Lighter" Tikka Masala

2 Tbs. grated ginger (I use the stuff in the jar)
6 cloves minced garlic
1/2 C. Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. smoked paprika
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

In a good sized, non-reactive bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients. Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch cube and add toss evenly in the yogurt mix to fully coat the chicken. Cover with food film, and place in the fridge 1-6 hours.

Preheat your oven to 500F. Remove the chicken from the fridge, and skewer the pieces onto 12 inch bamboo, or aluminum, skewers. Lay the skewers over the edges of a 9 inch wide casserole pan so that they are suspended (like being in a rotisserie).

What I like to do, as well, is to line my pan with foil so that I can capture all the wonderful drippings to add back to my curry later on-but that's completely optional. Bake the chicken about 20 minutes, or until it is just done through.

 Remove from the oven and set aside for a few minutes while you prep:

1 diced onion
4 clove minced garlic
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. smoked paprika
3 Tbs. Tomato Paste
1 (15oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup light sour cream

Over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic until they just start to brown.

Add the next 6 ingredients, and allow the spices to lightly brown and become very fragrant.

Add the tomato paste and sauce, and the water. Stir to combine. Place the light sour cream in a small mixing bowl and ladle about 6 ounces of the tomato sauce into it and whisk to combine, add another ladle of tomato sauce and whisk that into the sour cream mix vigorously. (This step is imperative because the light sour cream doesn't have enough fat in it to keep it from breaking, and turning grainy in the final sauce without this step.) Set the sour cream mix off to the side. 

Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer, add the chicken and pan drippings, place a mesh screen over the pot, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so to reduce the curry a bit.
The mesh screen allows the sauce to simmer while keeping it from splattering all over the range, thus avioding a huge mess-and cleanup!

 Remove from the heat, add the sour cream mixture and stir. Serve immediately with rice, naan bread, and any other of your favorite side dishes. 

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