We love ethnic foods in our house!  Most recently I have been experimenting with Indian foods and flavors and have come to love cumin, ginger and garam masala.  My only complaint (if I you twisted my arm and made me think of something I don’t like about Indian food) is that most of the dishes I’ve tried are time-consuming.  THIS one however, I made in under an hour and took no more prep or time than any non-Indian dish I know well.  The cumin flavor comes across well which is A-ok by me.  Also, this dish is not spicy at all for those who think all Indian food is spicy.  You’re right partly, most of it is, but not all of it!  You’ll need to make up some Garam Masala in advance (you can buy it pre-made but homemade is ALWAYS better right?!)  I’ll include a simple Garam Masala recipe mix with this post or you can make up a batch of the Garam Masala I keep on hand that’s a little more robust.

A word on cumin.  I have good reason to like cumin!  One of the oldest used spices, according to Wikipedia, mention of it comes up as early as second millenia BC and seeds have been excavated from ancient Egyptian archeological sites.  Native to east India and the Mediterranean, the seed is part of the dill and parsley family. Wikipedia also claims it is the second most popular spice, after black pepper.  Like most every spice, there are health benefits hidden in each little seed.  Cumin is reported to be a  digestive aid, increases your metabolism and helps your body absorb nutrients. Cumin also has a high iron content, although you’d have to eat a ton of it to get enough iron in your diet.  Every little bit counts though I suppose!  Most importantly, cumin is high in anti-oxidants, vitamin C, A and helps support your immune system.  Yay cumin!

On to the mess of ingredients: 

Simple Garam Masala:  (for specific instructions on preparing spices see my “Spice up the Experience” post)

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp black cardamom seed
  • 1 tsp cumin seed

Toast these together and grind into a fine powder.  Keep separate as Garam Masala.

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, extra fat trimmed
  • 2 medium to large yellow onions
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste (1.5-2 tsp for me)
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 TBS lemon juice

Messy Steps:

Grate the onions up over a cutting mat.  I’ve never grated an onion before but it came out looking like either wet, raw potato hash or larger grated horseradish.  Anyway, heat the oil in a large pan on medium-high and plop the wet mess of onion in to brown.  Meanwhile, cut up the chickens into bite sized bits, stirring the onion occasionally to keep it from sticking or burning.  Once the onion is getting golden-brown, add in the cut chicken.  Cook for 10 minutes or until the chicken has lost its pink on the outside.  Add in all the rest of the ingredients, turn the heat to medium, mix well and cover.  Allow to cook another 10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.  If the mix is looking too dry but still needs more cook-time, add in a little hot water, you are aiming for a sauce of sorts with the chicken juices and spices so add enough for there to be a thin sauce.  If you’re making other side-dishes to go with this, turn the heat down to low and it let it sit until you’re ready to serve!

100% Dukan Diet worthy but because of the onion, this is a good dish for a protein + vegetable day with another vegetable as a side dish.  If you want a recipe for a protein only day, leave out one onion and I think it is OK.  Easy, flavorful and quick.  Can’t beat that!  Makes 4-6 servings depending on the portion size.

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