Murgh Makhanwala (Butter Chicken)

Butter Chicken

 

I have no idea if this is the authentic recipe, but let me tell you, it tasted damn well delicious! For me Indian food is akin to comfort food.  Blame my college room-mate, who I love dearly and her family hails from Gujarat;  she was the person who used to cook for me when I couldn’t even boil water.

I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than a deliciously spiced meal, with loads of extra tasty sauce to sop up with home-made bread, in this case, Naan.  I stole this recipe from the Saveur website.  It popped up in my inbox, and I couldn’t get it out of my head since the moment I looked at it.  Normally my main problem in making Indian food is finding all the right ingredients.  This one is fairly easy, the only ingredient missing was the fresh or frozen curry leaves, which I still haven’t managed to find here.  Hopefully, one day I will, but to tell you the truth, I don’t think it would have changed much in this dish.  This chicken is really “finger lickin’ good”…..I mean, with all that yummy sauce, it begs for you to let your table manners go for the night!  As always, the true testament of a dish being good or great….my daughter eating it all, and then taking some for lunch the next day!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

For the chicken:

1/2 cup greek yogurt

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp oil

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp crushed red chile flakes

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 3″ piece of ginger, peeled and sliced cross-wise

Salt, to taste

1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skin removed

For the sauce:

1 tsp crushed red chile flakes

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 whole cardamom pods, cracked

3 whole cloves, crushed

1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained

1 3″ piece of ginger, washed and grated

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes

4 fresh or frozen curry leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

 

Marinate the chicken:  Combine all ingredients except for chicken in a food processor; purée.  Transfer marinade to a large bowl and add chicken, tossing to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.  (I did overnight, I think it made a difference.)

Heat oven to 500F (250C).  Transfer chicken to aluminum foil lined baking sheet, and spoon any marinade left over on top of the chicken.  Bake chicken until light brown but not cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a rack, set aside.

Make the sauce:  In a large pot over med-high heat, combine chile flakes, garlic, cardamom, cloves, tomatoes, ginger, bay leaf, and 2/3 cup water.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to med-low, and cook, stirring often and crushing tomatoes with a spoon, for 25 minutes.  Discard bay leaf and transfer sauce to a food processor, purée.  Return sauce to pot and continue cooking over medium-low heat until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.  Add reserved chicken pieces and any marinade left over from the pan, along with a 1/3 cup water.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Stir in cream, butter, garam masala and curry leaves.  Reduce heat to low and cook until flavors meld, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve with warm Naan bread.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla 

Alu Gobi – Cauliflower and Potato Curry

Caulifower and Potato Curry

 

20 years ago, I tried this dish for the very first time.  My college roommate, Salina, is from Kenya, but her parents are from Gujarat.  Apart from being one of the most incredible, beautiful and kindest persons I have met to date, she also opened up my mind to so many different things.  With her, I traveled to Kenya, and had one of the most life changing trips.  I entered not only Africa, but was received with open arms by her family, and they made me their protegé, and taught me so many things about Indian culture.  Back then, Salina used to cook for me.  I didn’t even know how to boil water.  But wow….she used to make these things that I had NEVER heard of.  But I loved them all.  I loved her little tiffin box full of spices.  I secretly coveted it.  I secretly wished I could be as talented as her in the kitchen.

But she did leave me with quite a few recipes.  Honestly, I don’t think I could have ever made them until now.  Thanks to the beauty of internet and the fact that I can now manoeuvre around a kitchen, I can figure out what “kala jeera” is (black cumin seed) and to figure out what “when the oil separates” means.  I think her recipes are beautiful.  It wasn’t from a book, she was cooking from her heart, and from her amazing mother’s heart.  ( I heart Bena- her mummy, my other mummy.)

So, today I decided to tackle this recipe, which was one of my favorites.  And I received the best compliment of all.  A friend of mine who has traveled extensively throughout India took one bite and said, “Mmmm, this takes me back to India!  Do you mind if I eat with my hands?”

And this of course, made me very, very happy.  Because my other mummy taught me how to eat with my hands too.

So, here is Salina’s wonderful Alu Gobi!

Serves 4

1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 large onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

1 cup peas

For the masala:

1/3-1/2 cup ghee or oil

1 tsp kala jeera (cumin seeds)

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

2 green ( I used red) chillies, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt, or to taste

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Wash the cauliflower, potatoes and peas together.

Heat the ghee/oil, and lightly fry the cumin seeds.  Add the onions and fry to a light golden color.  Add the tomatoes, ginger, chillies, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder, chilli powder and garam masala to the onions.  Cook on low heat until the oil separates.  (About 10-15 minutes).  Add the cauliflower, peas and potato with about 1/4 cup water, and stir the vegetables until well mixed with the masala.  Cover the pan and simmer on low heat.  When cooked, if there is any liquid in the pan, increase the heat and evaporate until the sauce is thick.  Sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapati, puri or paratha.  (I made spiced puris in the picture above).

From my Indian mummy’s kitchen to yours,

Carla