Monday, December 19, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Buttered Chicken

Fact #1: I LOVE Indian food.  More than any other.
Fact #2:  Indian food is hard to make (time and rare spices usually create obstacles)
Fact #3:  Indian restaurants are very difficult to find in Wisconsin.
Fact #4:  I'd probably give up my right arm if I could eat at the Banana Leaf in Singapore just once a week.  Dramatic, maybe.  But it's pretty true.

So, imagine my joy when I found a Buttered Chicken (what's that? you ask -- well it's just the yummiest thing on the planet) recipe that I knew I could do in my own kitchen, with mostly pantry items!

This recipe, will definitely be made again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  Until I die.

As a random aside: I read the other day that helping your children foster a love and concern for international affairs and cultures can be as simple as cooking food from different countries in your own family kitchen. So not only is this yummy, but it will also help your children with their emotional development in todays modern world. Win! Win!

Buttered Chicken
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh jalapeƱo, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks (thin, long chunks are most authentic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups basmati rice, uncooked
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Cook rice according to package instructions.
In a large saute pan, combine onion, ginger, jalepeno and oil. Stir often over medium-high heat until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, garam masala, chili powder, cardamom, and coriander. Saute for an additional 2 minutes.
Scrape mixture into a blender or food processor; add tomato paste and chicken broth. Whirl until very smooth. Pour mixture back into pan, add half and half or cream and bay leaf, and bring to a gentle boil over high heat (mixture is inclined to spatter). Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until reduced to 3 cups, about 5-7 minutes. Pour sauce into a bowl. Rinse and dry pan.
Pat the chicken dry. Mix chicken with salt and pepper. Set pan over high heat; add 1 tablespoon butter and the chicken. Stir until chicken is no longer pink on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until chicken is no longer pink in the center (cut to test), 3 to 4 minutes. Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into chunks and stir into sauce until melted.
Spoon chicken and sauce onto rice. Squeeze lime juice over portions and garnish with cilantro.
To avoid too much splattering I used the biggest pot I have, and I'm glad I did.  It's weird to saute onions in a big pasta pot, but once you get it all liquified you'll be glad you have it in there.  

We serve this over rice and cauliflower.  Peas are another common side with Indian food. There is enough sauce to cover the veggies as well.

For your enjoyment, here's a shot of me and some of the world's finest ladies grubbing at the Banana Leaf I'm willing to give my arm up for.  We'd pinch our pennies all month for this annual P-day treat.  And yes, I'm the one with a spoon (nope on closer look those are my fingers, the best way to eat authentic Indian food) shoved in my mouth!

Now, if only I could master garlic naan and mango lassi.  Life would be nearly perfect!

1 comment:

tamikate said...

YUMMY! I have been meaning to tell you that we have a new place to eat in Provo... named "The Banana Leaf" (apparently a popular name). I thought of you with every bite! My first Singaporian (sp? word?) food-- IN LOVE!

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