Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Today, I am disclosing one of my most valuable secrets. In the early morning hours when I'm working night shift I love to peruse Amazon and one-click order intriguing items. This is how I found Justin's nut butter and truffle salt to sprinkle on my gourmet popcorn. I've come to think of it as the one-click pick me up. My husband thinks of it as...well...that's beside the point.

Above you will see my #1 best EVER amazon discovery - this butter chicken curry paste you simply mix with hot water. It's SO easy and tastes like a restaurant-worthy authentic Indian dish. Seriously. If you love Indian food, you need to try this seasoning blend. I completely give this 5 stars. I'd serve this dish to my entire family and pretend I made it from scratch, and they would never know. In fact, I think I'll make this for my dad's birthday meal the next time I see him, since he loves spicy Indian curries.

There are endless variations, but I like to add chickpeas, use 1/2 milk and 1/2 water, chicken thighs, and add raw spinach at the very end. For a healthier option, you could serve the curry over cauliflower rice. For the full experience, stick with good jasmine rice and naan on the side. 

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
1 packet of the above Butter Chicken Curry paste from Kitchens of India  
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 pound chicken (I like thighs) cut into 2 inch chunks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter 
1 cup hot water (use half milk/half water for a creamier curry)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 handfuls of raw spinach

Serve over jasmine rice with naan on the side. 

*Optional changes - add tomato paste (2 Tbsp), chickpeas, chunks of potato, plain yogurt, or raw spinach at the very end

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in dutch oven or heavy skillet. Add onion and garlic, and saute until fragrant. Add the chicken and cayenne pepper. (start cooking rice about this time) Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic. 

Pre-mix the Kitchens of India Butter Chicken Paste in a small bowl using hot water until smooth, then add the mixture to the pan. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes. Add spinach at the very end, stirring briefly.

Perfect Jasmine Rice

1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt

Put rice in strainer with bowl underneath. Fill strainer/bowl with water and soak 10-15 min. Remove strainer and rinse rice well. Use your hands to turn it over. You are getting rid of excess starch that can make it sticky. Rinse till water runs clear. Let rice drain over empty bowl for 5 minutes or so. 

Add the rice to boiling salted water. Bring to boil and allow to boil uncovered without stirring until water level = rice level. Cover and simmer on low 10-15 minutes. Turn heat off and uncover. Let sit a few minutes without stirring.. Then fluff and enjoy!

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