Ok, so I was a little late on the Indian Food train. I don’t think I even had my first taste of glorious Tikka Masala until I was out of college. Honestly, 23 years to discover it…really? Well I certainly made up for the lack of Indian food in my diet by consuming it any time I could convince my boyfriend to go with me. After a good three months of eating is religiously, he won’t even go near it. I guess you can say he is a bit burnt out. I, however, am still in love and still crave it constantly.
Now, fast forward to today. I can’t quite say that Indian food is Paleo, ok, let’s be realistic, Indian food would make any Paleo die-hard shutter. Most dishes containing horrid things like, cream, butter, gasp…rice! So that was one sacrifice that really depressed me and my other Paleo Challenge buddy Allison. To commemorate our Challenge commencing we even went out for a huge, and delicious might I add, Indian meal.
And then, one magnificent day I ran into this Paleo blog and read about a Paleo Gathering they had. The theme was ethnic food and someone had brought over Paleo Indian No-Butter Chicken as a main course. My eyes lit up and of course I clicked to continue reading. The minute she said the dish tastes more like Tikka Masala I was hooked. Immediately I emailed my Paleo Buddy Allison and we planned a night to make it together. Thank you Primal Girl for linking the recipe.
Allison ended up marinating the chicken before I arrived which was a great help, considering the marinade took about four hours. So if you want to make this meal, plan ahead. ( I know right? Baby steps for me!) Once I got there we popped the chicken into the oven and started prepping the other ingredients. Can I just tell you that about 15 minutes into the chicken cooking the most amazing and mouth-watering smell began to waft out of the oven. I literally had to restrain myself from opening up the oven and diving face first into it. Deep breath. Instead, I occupied my time mincing up the onions, while Allison mixed the long list of spices. (Many of which I hadn’t ever heard of… so pretty glad I have a friend that lives next door and can cook, while sharing my love for all things Crossfit and now Paleo) I am definitely not a cook. I am working on this skill, but it is coming slowly. Which was pretty evident by the worried look on Allison’s face as I was “mincing” the onions…she kept reminding me to be careful and not cut myself…subliminal messages about my skills…probably.
Once the chicken was done, we took it out of the oven and after it cooled, diced it up into bite sized pieces. At this point we realized we were supposed to somehow make Cauliflower look and taste like rice. Neither of us had any idea so we went back to the computer to figure out how to do this. (Click here if you want to learn how). We used a grater and then sautéed it up. Note: it flies everywhere so be prepared for a cauliflower mess. Or you could just use it as confetti. Whichever.
Once that was done we put the onions, spices, chicken and chicken broth together and let simmer for 20 minutes. It is starting to look more and more like Indian food at this point, and I was just crossing my fingers that it would taste at least a little like the real thing. Finally we were nearing the finish line and got out the plates and served up a good helping each and went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.
I know we were both timid at first to try it, worrying that it would taste wrong. Picking up that first fork full we looked at each other and both tried it at the same time. GOOD LORDY. It was good really really good! I was shocked and so surprised. It tastes just like Indian Tikka Masala and the cauliflower was just as good too. The consistency and taste was just like rice…I didn’t miss the rice one bit! Here is a beautiful picture of the finished product:
Seriously, so good. Allison thought it was a little spicy, and although my spice threshold is pretty low, I didn’t think it was too bad.
If any of you Paleo-ers are having Indian withdrawals I highly suggest this dish. It will definitely curb your craving and help you stay on track.
And as an amazing bonus, Allison had made Paleo Pecan Pie for desert. A perfect end to a great meal. And definitely great motivation to stay on this crazy train a while longer. Knowing I don’t have to go without all of the things I love is definitely a great help. Buon apetito!