July 23, 2012
Crockpot Butter Chicken
I am amazed at how little time it takes me to get out of the swing of things. My mom was in town last week, and blogging just fell by the wayside without a single thought! Maybe it was the cooking disaster on the second day of her visit (which happened to be my birthday) that just left me feeling less than enthusiastic about sharing cooking tales... That particular story is a whopper, though, and all I can bring myself to say just now is that I will never again try to make Cafe Rio-style Pork Barbacoa, and that I'm so glad my Le Creuset survived to cook another day. Oy to the vey.
It may surprise you to hear that "ethnic food" isn't really my thing -- or hasn't been until recently. The first time I tasted Butter Chicken was at my brother's rehearsal dinner last fall. It absolutely won me over. My husband, too! It seriously helps to have your spouse on board when you want to go to the trouble of recreating a foreign dish at home. And, unlike the aforementioned pork, making this at home is something I can highly recommend!
Butter Chicken is probably about as much an authentic Indian dish as Spaghetti and Meatballs is an authentic Italian dish, but that makes it a great introduction to Indian flavors. And with minimal effort to boot! Just throw it all in the slow cooker and walk away, friend. It's a gateway dish.
So even if you don't think you like Indian food, give this a try. It will probably change your mind!
Crockpot Butter Chicken
adapted from Meal Planning 101
2 Tbsp. oil
4-6 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1, 5.5 oz. can of tomato paste
2 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. curry paste (like Patak’s mild curry paste)
a tiny pinch to 1 tsp cayenne powder (we're on the tiny pinch end of the spectrum)
2 tsp. tandoori masala
1 tsp. garam masala
15 green cardamom pods (If you wish, put them in some cheesecloth. I like the adventure of picking them out... and I am also too lazy to deal with cheesecloth. Not that it's that hard. Moving on...)
1, 15 oz. can coconut milk (I use light)
1 c. plain yogurt (Nonfat is fine)
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. frozen peas (optional)
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and saute to get a little color. Place chicken in crockpot.
To empty skillet, add remaining Tbsp. of oil, then add onions and saute until translucent. add garlic and saute one minute. Then add tomato paste, all spices except cardamom, and curry paste. Stir it all together to enliven the tomato paste and spices.
Scrape contents of the skillet into the crockpot over the chicken. Add coconut milk and cardamom. Stir to thoroughly combine.
Cook on low heat 6-8 hours, or on high heat 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, shred the chicken (or dice, if you prefer). Stir in the yogurt. Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking. If you want to add the peas, add them now and stir them around in the warm sauce to thaw them through.
Serve with basmati rice (we use jasmine rice because we always have it on hand) and warm naan bread.