Monday, December 29, 2008

Red Butter Chicken + Garam Masala + Homemade Chapattis

Red Butter Chicken

Before making this our own, we learned this first from Sam Stern’s Real Food/Real Fast - a great cookbook by a British teen. The girls like the breezy language of the original and all the photos of Sam and his friends.  I like the emphasis on real cooking with real ingredients.  All of us love the results!  Unbelievably delicious!!

Melt in a large pan
6 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely diced4 cloves garlic, crushedPinch of salt
and cook gently for 2 minutes.

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper½ teaspoon chili powder3 teaspoons paprika2 teaspoons garam masala2 teaspoons ground coriander1 cinnamon stick4 cardamom pods (or 1¼ teaspoons ground cardamom)
and cook until onions are soft.

2 (15 oz) cans crushed tomatoes2 Tablespoons tomato paste2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
and stir. Bring to a boil. Simmer on reduced heat for 10 minutes.

4 chicken breasts, without skin, diced
and stir to coat.

1 cup heavy cream2/3 cup plain yogurt
Reduce heat. Cook at a gentle simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook
2 cups rice
4 cups waterPinch of salt
fresh cilantro
and stir into chicken. Excellent served with warmed naan or warmed whole wheat tortillas or - even better - Homemade Chappatis (see below)

Garam Masala
We found this formula for a garam masala mix years ago in a children's book about India from the library. Now I see garam masala premixed in the grocery store, but this smells so wonderful roasting in the oven, it's worth taking time to make it when you can.

Preheat oven 200°.
Roast in an ungreased 9 x 13” pan on bottom oven rack
3 sticks cinnamon½ cup cardamom pods¼ cup whole cloves¼ cup cumin seeds2 Tablespoons coriander seeds¼ C black peppercorns
for 30 min. Stir often.

Let cool.

With fingers, break open cardamom pods: remove and keep seeds, discard pods. Crush cinnamon (rolling pin and 2 towels). Combine & mix well. Grind to fine powder (food processor or in short bursts in blender).
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
Store in sealed jar up to 6 months.

Homemade Chapattis
These are easy enough, I don't know why we don't make them more frequently.  The recipe is from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook

Preheat oven to 325°. Mix in a medium-sized bowl
½ cup flour½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup water
and stir until combined. Knead dough on a clean, floured surface for a minute or two, adding more flour to combat stickiness.

Divide dough into 6 equal balls and roll each one into a very thin round – no thicker than 1/8 inch – using plenty of flour on rolling surface and rolling pin.

Oil tray and brush tops of chapattis with
olive oil
Bake for 10 minutes until very, very lightly browned.

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