Thursday, February 3, 2011

Butter Chicken = Chicken Makhani

I chose the easy recipe that required just throwing everything in the slow cooker. I don't have any garam masala so used a mixture of spices on hand. This is the sort of dish that comes with lots of variations. For all the different tweaks you can do, see the notes below.
  • 2 lb chicken (I cut up breasts but recipes recommend thighs)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 1/4 t ground cardamom (or 15 pods if you have them)
  • 2 heaping t curry powder (I used a madras curry powder)
  • 1 t cayenne (I subbed paprika but next time use pure chili powder)
  • 2 t tandoori masala
  • 1/2 t ground ginger (or use fresh)
  • 1 t garam masala (or substitute: dash of cloves, 2 dashes of cinnamon, 1/2 t ground cumin, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 t paprika, 1/4 t chili powder [should be cayenne], optional: nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, black pepper) (and I threw in some turmeric)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 c natural yogurt (optional)
  • 1/2 c + 2 T tomato sauce (should use paste)
  • 2 T lemon juice (didn't have any)
  • salt
  1. Dump everything in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low 6-8 hours.
  2. Salt to taste. Serve with rice or naan.
  • Use whole breasts, whole thighs, or cut up chicken.
  • Optional: Marinate the chicken first.
  • Optional: Stir fry cut up chicken, onions, garlic with the butter before adding to crock pot.
  • Add the cup of yogurt 15 minutes before serving, not at the beginning.
  • Add more garam masala or curry powder at end of cooking to adjust to taste.
  • Add half cup of peas.
  • Use frozen solid breasts on low for 8 hours.
  • To make matching rice, use jasmine rice and use coconut milk as part of the liquid. Add cardamom and cinnamon. 
  • Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro over the dish.
  • If you only have lite coconut milk, add 1-2 T shredded coconut.
  • Use tabasco sauce in place of cayenne.
  • Add a diced potato 2 hours before serving.
  • Substitute cinnamon stick (or powder) for cardamom pods
  • Use sour cream instead of yogurt; milk + coconut extract instead of coconut milk.
  • Use a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker to drastically speed up cooking time.
  • Add 1/4 c finely ground cashews to thicken. Or ground almonds.
  • Use 1 freshly chopped tomato instead of the tomato paste.

Cauliflower, Carrot + Mushroom Stir Fry

Most of the work is chopping the vegetables. Once that's done the rest of the dish is easy.
  • 1/4 c chicken broth (or vege broth if vegetarian)
  • 1 T soy sauce (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1.5 t cornstarch
  • oil
  • 1.5 t fresh ginger, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 2 fat carrots
  • handful of mushrooms
  • spicy pickled radishes
  1. In a small bowl, combine the broth with soy sauce and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook ginger, garlic and pepper flakes for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the cauliflower with 1/4 c water. Let cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots. Let cook another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and let cook 2 minutes.
  6. Dump the broth mixture over the vegetables and cover. Let simmer until cauliflower is cooked through.
  7. Add the radishes and stir. Let sit on low heat until ready to serve (with rice).
- use zucchini instead of mushrooms
- add bamboo shoots
- add 1 T orange juice to broth mixture