We all have our favourite cuisines, and one of mine is Indian food – I adore it! There is an amazing Indian restaurant in our neighbourhood that has been there for years; a testament to its excellent food. My husband and I eat there frequently or just grab some take-out on the way home from work, if we are pressed for time. One of my favourite dishes there, is Butter Chicken. It is so luxurious – the epitome of comfort food. Just one mouth-full of this rich concoction transports me to the exotic sights and sounds of India. Even the first whiff of it makes me forget my damp, rain-soaked surroundings. I could eat this dish all year round…except that I would have to buy much bigger pants! I mean the traditional recipe is full of…well, butter of course – and cream to boot!
So, today’s recipe was the most exciting discovery! I first found it in my favourite Canadian series of cookbooks. The recipe is adapted from the 4th in the series: Whitewater Cooks with Passion, by Shelley Adams. This is Butter Chicken without any butter or cream! How brilliant can that be? For any of you who can’t consume lactose, this recipe is a revelation. I have made it twice now and both times have marvelled over the flavour and complexity and the very fact that I could go back for seconds and not feel too guilty. I have used Thai green curry paste both times that I have made it, knowing that the flavour would be a bit unusual, but it just works so well. I encourage you to try this, but I do intend to try some Indian curry paste the next time that I make it.
Am I bringing this to Fiesta Friday? You bet! I know the whole gang there will go crazy for this creation. If you haven’t joined us yet for the best virtual blog party in town, come on over to Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener. You won’t want to go home!
Butter-Less Butter Chicken
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon harissa paste (see my recipe here)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed and chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (5.5 oz.) tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans coconut milk
2 tablespoons green Thai Curry paste (or your style curry paste)
5 fresh tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 ½ tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated
Mix together garam masala, coriander, harissa, salt and oil.
Rub all over the chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
Bake the chicken in a 350°F. oven for about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from oven and slice or shred thinly.
Sauté onion, in oil until it becomes soft and almost caramelized. Add 1 tablespoon garlic, 2 teaspoons ginger, coriander, salt and tomato paste. Continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes.
Add coconut milk, and curry paste and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Add tomatoes, garlic, ginger and cooked chicken and simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes to allow the flavours to marry.
Serve with basmati rice, raita and hot buttered naan or chapatis. A side of green vegetables or fresh chopped spinach will make this a complete and very satisfying meal.