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Chef's Corner - If you can't go to India, bring India to you!

Janet Pole | Interrobang | Lifestyles | September 12th, 2005



I am supposed to go to India this fall for a wedding, but my oncologist will not let me go. Of course, I have already bought me Saris (what, me not shop!?!) and they will have to do without my tribal drumming, but I thought that I would share my favorite recipes for Indian Butter Chicken that I have found so far. If you have some better ones, please send — anything I can put through a food processor or blender is Heaven for me right now!

Makhani Chicken (Indian Butter Chicken)
Marinade #1:
1 3/4 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
Marinade #2:
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Ginger garlic paste
1/2 Tbsp. Garam masala
2 tbsp. Melted butter
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
2 Tbsp. Ginger garlic paste
2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
Sauce:
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Garam masala
1 Tbsp. Ginger garlic paste
1 Tbsp.
Chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. Green chili pepper
2 cups tomato puree

1 Tbsp. Chili powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. Honey
1/2 tsp. Fenugreek
1 cup unsweetened evaporated milk

Place chicken in a glass dish or bowl with ingredients from marinade #1. Toss to coat; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, drain yogurt in cheesecloth for 15 to 20 minutes. Place in a medium bowl and mix in marinade #2 ingredients. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken, replace cover and refrigerate for an additional 3 or 4 hours.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken in a 9x13-inch baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until almost cooked through.

To make sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garam masala as well as ginger, garlic paste and green chili peppers. Sauté until tender, then stir in tomato puree, chili powder, salt, garam masala and water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring in honey and fenugreek. Place chicken in sauce mixture. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Stir in evaporated milk and serve.

Janet is occasionally a second year student in the hospitality department, supposedly on co-op at the moment with plans on returning in January to torture two professors by retaking their courses once again. She does not expect any help in Front Death Part Two this time, any more than she expects the Messiah to show up and clean her cat's litter box. She can be reached at djembejanet@hotmail.com

Not sure what some of the above ingredients are, or where to find them? Check here and get cookin'!

Fenugreek:
an Indian spice widely used in Indian and Mediterranean cooking. It is an important ingredient in curry powders, and is aromatic, with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Ginger Garlic Paste:
literally garlic and ginger blended together until a paste forms. To make your own, put equal parts garlic cloves and fresh gingerroot in a blender with a little bit of water. Blend until it's a paste and store it in the fridge.

Garam masala:
a special spice blend used often in Indian and South Asian foods. It is powerful and should be added in small quantities to ensure it wont over power the dish. You can make your own with this recipe from about.com;

1/4 cup coriander seeds

2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsp cardamom pods
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
1 tsp whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg

Put coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and put in a small bowl, set aside. Toast the remaining spices, one at a time, except nutmeg and add them to the coriander. Cool completely.

Put all the ingredients except the nutmeg in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl. Grate the nutmeg over the mixture. Stir to mix well. Transfer to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. The garam masala will keep at room temperature for at least a month.

Make 1/2 cup of garam masala.
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