Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Indian Butter Chicken

My husband and I have found a wonderfully addicting alternative to "going out"... it's called "cooking in". Imagine that! We attempt to make our favorite dishes that we love to have when eating out. Hey... we're all saving pennies these days, and although it's not as nice as having an evening out of the kitchen, it's fun to have our favorite restaurant's famous fare (well, almost!). A few months ago, my husband and I went out for Indian. I played it safe and had my usual "red curry (coconut) chicken". It was really good! But my husband also had a really nice dish called "Kashmiri Chicken". It was a new dish for both of us, and we loved how silky the sauce was, and how the spices were balanced with a bit of sweet taste. I started looking for recipes when I got home that evening. I didn't have much luck. It turns out that Kashmiri is not really a cooking term, but a regional description of a chicken dish. During my search I found a lot of recipes for a dish called Butter Chicken. And as I was reading ingredient lists I noticed that Indian Butter Chicken seemed to have some similar tastes as to what we had had that evening at the restaurant. (And if there are any Indian food "critics" reading this, first of all... thank you for reading?! and second of all, forgive my naivete for thinking these dishes might be similar!)

The next week rolled around and I decided to try my hand at making Kashmiri Chicken. I started with a basic Indian Butter Chicken recipe and altered it for what I could find/not find and how I thought the recipe would change from Butter Chicken to the Kashmiri dish that we had at the restaurant. I also like a medium heat range when it comes to spices... not wimpy, but not painful either, so I altered the spices just a bit. We loved this dish the way that it turned out and have made it multiple times since then! Perfect comfort food that is certainly healthier than fast food!

Indian Butter Chicken
Adapted from Allrecipes.com to taste like the Kashmiri dish we had from the restaurant.
Serves 4

  • ----------SAUCE-----------
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (or peanut oil)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp green curry paste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger (I buy it in the jar)
  • 1 tsp garam masala (I made my own - it made enough for 3 recipes)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch salt (I used Kosher salt, so added 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • topping for dish: roasted salted cashews - about 2 Tbsp
  • ----------CHICKEN-----------
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • OR - this is great with left over roasted chicken as well. I still sprinkle it with seasonings before adding it to the sauce at the end.
  • ----------RICE----------
  • 1 part rice - 2 parts water
  • I used about 1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed well

  • If serving this dish over rice, get it started first as it usually takes 30-45 minutes depending on cooking methods. I like to use my rice cooker. I measure out the rice, put it in the basin of the cooker and rinse it well (at least twice) by scrubbing the rice with my palm and fingers to wash off the extra starch. This really does make a difference - especially with brown rice. It will cook up more fluffy and not lump itself together. Drain the water as best as you can, then add twice the amount of fresh water as dry rice. Start your rice cooker.
  • To make the sauce: heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent, not brown.

  • Stir in butter, lemon juice, green curry paste, grated ginger, 1 tsp garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring one minute.

  • Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in Half-and-half, yogurt, peanut or almond butter, and raisins. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

  • To cook the chicken: heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and season with 1 tsp garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until the liquid has reduced and chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  • Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
  • **If the sauce is too thin (mine never is, but this is per the original recipe) you can mix 1 Tbsp of cornstarch into 1/4 cup of water and mix into the sauce. Simmer until it starts to thicken, 5-10 minutes.

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