The warm fragrance of onions melding with chicken in the skillet comforted me last night. I stood in front of the stove for the first time in a few weeks, truly looking forward to eating. Not just to fuel my body, but to fuel my soul.
For three weeks, my family’s world has been turned upside down, and as I chopped and stirred, and allowed myself to sway a bit to the classical music playing on our Sonos system, a welcomed calm settled over me. I’m not ready to pour onto the page yet what we’ve been going through…everyone tells me that time will heal…but just know that finding some comfort in routine, in the warmth of the familiar, soothed me just a bit.
My in-laws have flown to South Africa to heal a hole in their family, and we are here doing the same. In the past, whenever we needed it, my mother-in-law has been here to support us with food. Always food. Food, food, food! Her love filled our stomachs as often as we needed it. But, now in this time of need for our entire family, she cannot be here. So, I ventured to fill the craving for some spicy, fragrant, tongue-tingling goodness. Here’s what I did. It’s my southern girl’s version of chicken tikka masala. Not “just like mom’s,” but actually pretty darn good. And pretty darn easy!
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion chopped
tablespoon of olive oil
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of tandoori masala powder
1 cup of mixed vegetables
Cooked basmati rice
Saute the chicken and onions until chicken is browned and onions are soft.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tandoori powder. Stir in the mixed vegetables (my American addition – mixed vegetables are good for pot pies, alone with butter, casseroles, whatever!)
Let it simmer until the vegetables are soft and the chicken is nice and red and tender. When every corner of the house is filled with the aroma, your dinner is ready!
Serve with the rice, some papadums (which we were lucky to still have a stash of, thanks to his mom), and a dollop of plain yogurt if you like.
Now, I don’t want any mean comments from people that this recipe is not authentic. I’ve gotten that before, and I just don’t like mean people! It’s tasty and satisfying, and will get us through until our family is together again for the real deal.
Hopefully very soon.
My Indian readers, please give me suggestions to make this more authentic. I welcome ideas from the experts.
If you’re in need of a good spice fix, and throw some together yourself, let me know how you liked it!