My good friend Stephanie got me my favorite kind of gift for my last birthday: a new cookbook with lots of pictures and interesting recipes that are simple enough to succeed in cooking. Tonight I tried my first recipe from Curtis Stone’s “What’s for Dinner?” Cookbook: chicken masala with cucumber raita.

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http://www.curtisstone.com/Kitchen-Products/Books/What-s-for-Dinner-cookbook.aspx

I had a taste for Indian spices, so this was a great solution. I tweaked a few things to my taste (and frankly, I underestimated how much curry powder I had, so had to improvise!) This was a tasty dish that I will certainly make again!

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4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used one package of organic tenders)
Salt & pepper to season
1/4 c. Curry powder (I used about 1 tbsp. curry, then added some tandoori and masala seasoning to make up the difference)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger
5 fresh garlic cloves, pressed (I only used 2, but they were large)
28 oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
1 c. Chicken broth (I used home made turkey broth)
6 oz. fresh baby spinach (I forgot to add this, whoops!)
1/4 c. Fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice from 1/2
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
1 c. Jasmine rice
2 c. Low fat coconut milk

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, curry powder (and other spices if you choose) and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until no longer pink, remove from pan and place in a bowl.

Add the onion to your hot pan and start to soften. Add ginger, garlic and additional curry powder. Once onions are soft, add the tomatoes and juice. Cook together for about 5 minutes.

Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken. If you prefer it a little thicker, like I do, add a little bit of flour (I used tapioca flour). Once the consistency is how you like it, add the chicken back in and let it simmer for a few more minutes so the chicken reheats.

To make your coconut rice, stir 2 c. Coconut milk with 1 c. Jasmine rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Let it simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for about 5 minuts.

To make the raita, whisk together the yogurt, cilantro, lemon zest and juice, cumin and sliced cucumber.

At this point you are supposed to stir in the spinach, just so it wilts.

To plate, start with your rice, spoon your chicken masala over it, and top with a spoonful of raita. The favors all compliment each other beautifully – a little spicy, a little sweet and the cool creaminess of the raita all pair perfectly.

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