Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dutch Oven Chicken Feast a la India

There are a lot of really good Indian Restaurants here in the Salt Lake Metro.

Sometimes, when you live somewhere, you kinda assume that other, more “exotic” or more “cosmopolitan” cities have better restaurants. That might be true in some cases. But when I’ve been in other cities, like San Diego, and others, I’ve noticed that the Indian I’ve eaten there is about on par with the small, family owned Indian houses here in Utah.

So, that brings me back to there being logs of really good Indian restaurants here in the Salt Lake Metro.

And when I talk about “Indian”, I’m talking, like, from India, not “native American”. Just to clarify, because Salt Lake Metro has some great Native American food, too. We’re clear? Nobody’s gonna turn me in to the PC Police?

So, when I do Indian, I always order two things: Chicken Tikka Masala, and Chicken Saag. Those are my all-time favorites. Sometimes, if I get a third thing, I might get Tandoori Chicken, or I might try something completely new that I haven’t had before.

In my constant quest to find things I’m not supposed to be able to cook in a dutch oven, I’ve now added these dishes. And since I love to combine them onto one rice plate, I had to try it. I dove in and did my net research, and found a number of recipes, which I basically followed.

I gotta tell ya, this is not for the faint-hearted, nor for the beginner. I ran like a madman from pot to pot, from one recipe to the other. I had to chart out in quarter-hour increments so that the Saag, the Tikka Masala, and the rice would end up done at about the same time. This was NOT a relaxing meal to prepare.

Oh, but it was worth it!

Next time I do it, I’m going to streamline the recipe a bit. I’m going to combine some steps and make it so that I’m not running quite so much. Here’s the recipe and the instructions, not so much as I did it today, but moreso how I’ll do it next time. Here’s another warning, too: There are some unusual/exotic ingredients. You may have to go to an Asian/Indian market to find some of them, so you’ll want to do some shopping first.

Dutch Oven Chicken Feast a la India (a combination of Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Saag)

2x 12” Dutch ovens
1x 10” Dutch oven

Lots of coals, all underneath.

The common ingredients:

  • 4 lbs frozen chicken breast, thawed
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 med onions
  • 2 inches fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ Cups rice
  • 3 Cups water

For the Saag:

  • 4 bundles of fresh spinach (16 oz each)
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp chili powder (cayenne, if you have it)
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • salt
  • pepper

For the Tikka Masala

  • 1 (400g) can tomato puree
  • 4 Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp tikka masala curry past
  • 1 Tbsp coriander
  • salt
  • pepper

First, get some coals on to burn. Lots. You’ll need probably two beds of 20 or so each. We’ll be cooking completely from the bottom, no coals on top, even though I cooked all pots covered. Make sure you have a side stack of burning coals, too, so you can replenish.

Then, cube the thawed chicken. Put a little oil in the bottom of one of the 12”, and set that on the coals to brown. Chop up the leaves of the spinach and put those in another 12” dutch oven, with about a half cup of water. Put that dutch oven on coals to boil.

The Spinach will probably boil down long before the chicken is browned. Pull the spinach out an drain it off, discarding the liquid. Mash up the spinach so that it’s almost a paste. I just kinda chopped at it with the point of a wooden spoon. When the chicken is browned, pull that oven off the coals as well, and remove the chicken. Discard any liquid in that dutch oven, too.

Next, chop up the onions, the garlic, and the ginger. Put those all in any one of the dutch ovens, put it back on the coals, and sautee these ingredients until the onions are clear and a bit brown.

Here’s where we split it up between the Saag and the Masala. Divide the onions and the chicken half and half between the two 12” dutch ovens, and put them both on the coals. Choose which oven is for the Tikka Masala, and which is for the Saag, and add all the remaining ingredients and spices for each one. Add the cooked-down spinach into the Saag oven. Cover them both and let them cook, stirring occasionally. After they get boiling, take some coals off so they simmer.

As the other two dishes are cooking, put the rice and the water into a 10” dutch oven, and put that, covered on some more coals.

I’m betting that the rice, the chicken saag, and the chicken tikka masala will all be done at about the same time. It’s not so critical if the chicken dishes cook a little longer, so just whenever the rice is done, bring it all in.

Put a bed of rice on the plate, and cover half of it with the saag, and half with the tikka masala. The two flavors compliment each other, but I like them also separate. When I eat it, I get a bite of one, with rice, and then the other.

Like I said, this isn’t exactly how I did it this time, but I think it’ll turn out pretty much the same, and with a lot less stress. Even my kids liked this one, though they did like the masala side more than the spinach on the saag. Kids. Go figure…


  1. Sounds great Mark, I will have to try it !!


  2. Why did they delete your post on at dutchovencooking · The Art of Camp Dutch Oven Cooking?

    Mark aka DOC Opa



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