Thursday, November 3, 2011

Indian Food

  I'm a huge fan of Indian food. Over the years, as I have introduced my husband, and then children to it, the ethnic flavors have become a good part of our family's diet. Chicken Makhani is a particular favorite in this household, and quite an easy dish to prepare. Please don't let the ingredient list detour you from making this dish. There are a lot of spices, but the end result is a very mild, well-balanced flavor that is, to put it simply, addicting. All of the spices in this dish can be found in the spice section of your local supermarket and even Walmart. If you're a little intimidated by making this dish for the first time, stretch it over a two day period. Cook and shred the chicken one day, and make the sauce and serve it the next (although I must warn, the smell of the chicken while it bakes may lead to a lack of it the next day-you may find yourself picking at it throughout the day.)

Chicken Makhani

1 c. plain whole milk yogurt                                   1 clove garlic-minced
½ t. salt                                                               1 t. ginger-minced
¼ t. chili powder                                                  ½ t. Garam Masala
½ t. turmeric                                                        ½ t. paprika

2 Tbsp. butter, melted, plus more for basting
8 chicken thighs, skinned, washed, and patted dry

  Combine ingredients in a Ziploc bag and marinate overnight.
  Bake chicken at 350 degrees 35 minutes, in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Pour off any liquid, baste chicken with melted butter and Bake at 500 degrees 15-20 minutes, till lightly browned. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes; peel off the bone.

4 Tbsp. butter                                                 ½ t. turmeric
½ small onion, diced fine                                 ½ t. paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced                                    salt, to taste
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced                                    1 can tomato paste
1 ½ Tbsp. Garam Masala                                   1 t. sugar
¼ t. chili powder (more if you like it hot)         2 turns of the pan of honey (about 4 Tbsp.)
¼ t. ground cumin                                           1 ¼ c. plain whole milk yogurt
1 bay leaf                                                        ½-1 c. heavy cream
¼ t. cinnamon                                                 1 c. cashews
1/8 t. cloves                                                   3-4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

  Melt butter in a very large sauté pan (I use my cast-iron skillet). Saute onions until tender (about 2 minutes). Add garlic and ginger and sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook about 1-2 minutes to bring out a sweet smell in the paste. Add sugar, honey, and all spices; combine well. Add yogurt, ½ cup cream, and previously cooked chicken. Simmer 1 1/2-2 hours (add additional cream to thin to desired consistency). Before serving, stir in cashews and cilantro. Serve over basmati rice.

Basmati rice

3 c. water
2 Tbsp. butter, plus more for cooked rice
½ tsp. salt
2 c. Basmati rice (Can be found in the rice section of most supermarkets)
2-3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

  Rinse rice very, very well and drain (skipping this step will result in mushy, sticky rice).
  Bring water, butter and salt to boil. Add rice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15-20 minutes, till water is just absorbed (do not overcook). Remove lid, toss rice with cilantro and a little more butter.

  I apologize for not having a final picture, we finished the meal and were cleaning up when I realized I had neglected to take one. That just goes to show how delicious it is-we wasted no time digging in!

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