Chicken Tikka Masala is basically the national dish of Britain and for good reason, it is made up of marinated chicken pieces that are cooked in a buttery, creamy and spicy sauce. Match this with white rice, naan bread, pappadums and a 6 pack of beer and although you will have a great night, you will have a weeks worth of fat and calories in one meal and Summer is here so Juddy needs to perfect his beach body !
The idea of making a healthy AND vegan version that resembles the original, is something I have always wanted to try and I feel, after a few attempts, that I am there!
The creaminess comes from an amazing hack – soaked cashews that are blitzed with coconut milk, tomatoes, chilli and ginger to replicate the creamy comfort feel of the original, whilst tasting amazing. The chicken becomes protein rich tofu and is baked rather than fried but feel free to substitute with a couple of cans of chickpeas if you are soy free. Finally I have gone with brown rice that will keep you fuller for longer and supply a slower releasing energy, over the white variety, so my slow motion runs down the beach can go on for longer.
This is a real nutritional box ticker. High in carbs, loaded with protein and containing moderate, but healthy amounts of fat and made using predominantly whole food ingredients. The type of food you SHOULD be eating.
You will love this one as much as I did, just make sure you negate any of the health benefits by having it with naan and a beer like I did. Beach body or not, I still have to be slightly rock n roll!
- 500g firm tofu, drained and pressed (for at least 15 minutes) and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 cups brown rice (dry weight)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 200g button mushrooms, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 400g can tomatoes (or 4 or 5 fresh tomatoes)
- ½ cup natural cashews (soaked overnight or boiled for 10 minutes if you do not have a high speed blender)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (or go with coconut cream if you really want creaminess)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
- 5cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- Handful spinach leaves (around 60g)
- Small batch coriander, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chilli powder (depending on taste/strength!)
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: 1 lemon quartered and handful of dried sultanas
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil
- Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius
- Lay the drained and pressed tofu pieces on a baking paper lined tray and bake for 20 minutes, turning half way
- Meanwhile, put a casserole dish/large saute pan over a medium heat
- After about 5 minutes, put the rice in the boiling water and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes (or according to package instructions)
- Add the oil to the pan
- Whilst the rice is cooking, add the onions, mushrooms and garlic to your pan and give everything a good stir. Cook for about 8-10 minutes
- As you do this, add the tomatoes, cashews, coconut milk, green chilli and ginger to a blender and blend until everything has completely liquidised
- Add the spices to the vegetables and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes, stirring really well. Add a tablespoon of water (or less) if things are too dry
- Add the tofu, sauce from the blender and water/stock to the pan. Cook to thicken and make sure you stir regularly
- 5 minutes before you are ready to serve, stir in the spinach leaves and then 2 minutes later, the coriander. Season with salt and pepper and add the sultanas, if using
- Divide the rice into 4 bowls and spoon over the sauce. Serve with some lemon wedges to squeeze over
- Get it into ya!!
The Libertines “Up The Bracket”
I was never a Libertines fan. I am the same age as the band and was trying to break into the London scene at the same time as them so saw them as competition and therefore hated them!
They have done a lot better music wise than old Juddy boy though so after all these years, I FINALLY gave them a proper try and with no music snobbery, I realised that they are actually amazing. Lyrically, they are spot on and their observations of urban London paved the way for The Arctic Monkeys to provide the Northern competition.
This is an exceptional album. Enjoy.
Listen – but do yourself a favour and buy it on vinyl!!