Ever wish that you could be two places at one time? Before I get into this evening's post about Butter Chicken, I want to explain how I have accomplished this feat tonight. Not only am I posting this meal here on Krista's Kitchen, I will also be a featured food blogger on Thursdays at The Mental Clutter Coach. Organizing expert April Welch is the author of this blog addressing organizational issues and helping people to recognize their goals, dreams, priorities, and talents. Check out her "webisodes" that help readers simplify and become more efficient at common tasks such as packing for a business trip. Recently she asked me to provide some some cooking pictorials and so tonight I'm there with a Savory Shredded Pork, and I'm here with Butter Chicken. Check it out if you get a chance!
I saw this Butter Chicken (otherwise known as Chicken Makhani) on Tasty Kitchen and it looked and sounded so good that I had to give it a try. I think that I've only tried Indian food once, and I thought this recipe seemed like a good opportunity to give it another go. I really liked this, but the whole time I was eating it I was thinking of Thai food. As a result, I was also thinking how great this would be if I'd added coconut milk instead of cream. I'm more accustomed to the flavors of Thai food and I couldn't help but notice some similarities between this recipe and a Thai dish that I've tried before. I decided to do a little research about the similarities between Thai and Indian food. I know that both use curries, but apparently those curries are very different. In my research I found a number of message boards and articles where cooks fiercely defended the differences between the two cuisines and their curries. Still, it can't be argued that there are some similarities. At least with the spices and cilantro in this dish it seemed apparent to me. I did find this bit of information on Wikipedia citing the influence on Indian food in Southeast Asia:
Indian cuisine is very popular in South East Asia because of its strong historical influence on the region's local cuisines. Indian cuisine has had considerable influence on Malaysian cooking styles and also enjoys popularity in Singapore. Indian influence on Malay cuisine dates to the 19th century. Other cuisines which borrow Indian cooking styles include Filipino,Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Thai. The spread of vegetarianism in other parts of Asia is often credited to ancient Indian Hindu and Buddhist practices.
This probably explains why, being more drawn to Thai cuisine, that I wanted to add coconut milk to this tasty dish to make it taste more like Thai food.
Either way, it was yummy and spicy and fulfilling.
I just followed the recipe on Tasty Kitchen. Here's what I did:
First, I combined the spices. This called for 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom, which I did not have. After locating it at my local supermarket for a pricey $14 a jar, I opted to find a substitute. All of the sources that I consulted assured me that there is NO good substitute for cardamom, but many did recommend spices like cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. I just added a sprinkle of each in addition to the garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, coriander, and cumin.
Then I grabbed for some limes that I purchased nearly 2 weeks ago. They were looking a little rough and felt pretty hard. I anticipated that they wouldn't yield much juice.
Luckily, I was surprised and squeezed enough juice from the first lime that I didn't need another. I squeezed mine over a strainer that I placed on top of the spice bowl to keep out any pulp and/or seeds. Stir the spice/juice mixture together.
Pour the marinade over 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces. I squished the marinade around with the chicken inside the bag to evenly distribute it among the pieces. Then I put the chicken into the fridge overnight to marinate.
Tonight, when it was time to prepare dinner, I melted 1/4 cup of butter in a skillet and added a diced onion, sauteing until translucent.
Then I added in the chicken and cooked until no longer pink and the juices ran clear.
Next, I dumped in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. Stir it all up and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the 30 minutes are up, pour in a pint of heavy cream (I used half and half)...or coconut milk.
Stir in a bunch of cilantro....
And serve over rice. YUM!
Butter Chicken from Tasty Kitchen
•4 pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut Into Bite Sized Pieces)
•5 cloves Garlic, Minced
•1 teaspoon Salt
•½ teaspoons Black Pepper
•½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
•¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
•¼ teaspoons Cumin
•¼ teaspoons Cardamom
•1 whole Lime, Juiced
•1 whole Onion, Diced
•¼ cups Butter
•1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce
•1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
•1 pint Whipping Cream
•1 bunch Chopped Cilantro, to taste
•2 cups Basmati Rice (or However Much You Want)
Combine first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.
Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add marinated chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on. Add the whipping cream (I have used light cream or half-and-half also) and cilantro just before serving over Basmati rice.
Note: this is a little spicy, but you can cut back on the cayenne if you want.
My Notes: I used half and half, but would like to try this with coconut milk. As I did not have any cardamom, I used a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.