It didn’t take long after I posted on my Instagram, about an Indian meal I put together using groceries I got at Local Foods via Mercato, that I had questions: “Where is that simmer sauce from?” “Why is the cauliflower so yellow?” “How long do you cook the thighs for?” I rarely write anything down, as I’m more of a free-form kind of home cook, but since y’all asked, here is the recipe for what I think is a terrific (and super easy) Indian-inspired dinner (with a big assist from Indian As Apple Pie products, created by my former TV colleague Anupy Singla). Use the code “stevedolinsky” to get $10 off of your first order and keep supporting local grocers.
Easy Indian Dinner
1 Head Cauliflower (“cheddar” variety is optional)
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
Indian As Apple Pie Garam Masala (or other garam masala spice blend)
1 lb. bone-in chicken thighs, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper
Indian As Apple Pie Tikka Masala Sauce (I also like Maya Kaimal’s simmer sauces)
1 lb fresh spinach, cleaned
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt, pepper
Pre-heat oven to 375; remove the core of the cauliflower, cutting away florets, trying to keep them all about the same size so they cook evenly. Spread florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper; toss with hands to evenly coat all of the pieces. Place into pre-heated oven for approx 35-40 minutes, checking about 20 minutes in, to see if sides get browned. You can turn the pieces over at this point, until they are all evenly roasted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with garam masala.
While cauliflower roasts, add a little oil to a heavy pan and heat on medium high until the oil shimmers and then splatters if you add a drop of water to it. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Sear until the skin shows a golden brown color, then turn over, reduce head to medium low, and add the tikka masala sauce. Cover pan and reduce heat to simmer. Cook approx. 15 minutes or until internal temperature of thighs is 135 degrees.
Remove thighs to a plate, covering with all of the sauce from the pan, cover with foil; wipe out pan.
Add butter, a tablespoon of oil and the chopped garlic to the clean pan, heat on medium. Once butter is melted, add spinach leaves (stems and all) and cook using tongs to move the leaves around. It looks like a lot, but it will wilt down to just a cup or so rather quickly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I like to make some rice in my rice cooker for this – use two cups of water for every cup of rice – and serve the thighs over the rice, draping any extra sauce over it. Serve with the roasted cauliflower and spinach.
Dessert note: if you live in Chicago, and order from Local Foods, you can also pick up a half of a Bang Bang Pie. I got the Citrus Shaker and served it with some fresh berries. Boom!