Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Better Butter Chicken

    We had a mountain of leftovers from the Tandoori Chicken I made yesterday. I thought I could put it to good use by making a batch of something that I could portion out, and put in the freezer. This way, on the busy days of the week when I have little time to cook (or just don't feel like it), I just have to thaw and reheat.         
    Since it was Tandoori Chicken I was working with, I thought I would stick with the Middle Eastern flavor theme. So I checked out what was available in my pantry and decided to make Indian Butter Chicken.
    Traditionally Indian Butter Chicken is made with loads of, well, butter....but I use a lighter version of the recipe that's much kinder to my waistline and my arteries.

Indian Butter Chicken:
(Adapted from Janet and Greta Podleski's, Eat Shrink and be Merry)

Indian Butter Chicken over Basmati Rice
with a side of Steamed Broccoli

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. oil
1 1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. ginger, grated
3/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds, optional (These can be really hard to find. I have made this recipe many
           times without the fenugreek, and it tastes great regardless).
1 can (28oz/798ml) tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup light sour cream or plain yogurt (not fat free)
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. cashew or almond butter (this helps to thicken the sauce)
1/4 cashews, as garnish
1/2 of a tandoori chicken, precooked and cut into pieces 
            (Or 3 chicken breast that have been precooked and cut into cubes)
Hot cooked basmati rice, optional (yield one 1/2 cup for each serving)

(1) Heat the butter and oil together in a large heavy bottomed pot, over medium heat.
(2) Add the chopped onions and saute until tender. About 5 minutes.
(3) Add the ginger, and all the spices. Stir to combine, and cook for another minute.
(4) Add the drained tomatoes, chicken broth, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

(5) Remove from heat.
(6) Transfer the sauce to a blender to puree, working in batches. (It is very important to firmly hold down the lid of the blender. When adding a hot liquid, pressure builds up in the sealed pitcher causing the lid to slip off).

(7) Return the sauce to the pot.

(8) Stir in the sour cream, as well as the cashew or almond butter.
(9) Add the precooked Tandoori Chicken and mix well. Continue cooking until the chicken is hot.
(10) Serve over hot Basmati Rice. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and cashews.

* I always freeze any leftover sauce. Once all the hard work is done it makes a super easy weekday meal. All you need to do is pour the sauce over some chicken and rice and the whole thing can be made in no time.

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