Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) and Simple Basmati Rice

We've only had Indian food once at a wedding, but both Michael and I really like it.  We've been wanting to try it again ever since, but let's just say we're fresh out of Indian restaurants in our small town!  So, I figured I'd try to make it at home!  The rice recipe is from Aarti Sequeira, Food Network Star winner (love that show) and the second is a popular recipe from All Recipes.

The case:
Simple Basmati Rice from Aarti Sequeira
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water 
  • Large pinch salt
  1. This is the most important part: Wash the rice! Place the rice in a large bowl and fill with fresh, room temperature water. Swirl your hand through the water and the rice; the water will go cloudy. That's all the starch that we're trying to remove in order to have individual grains of rice. Once you've swirled your hand around for a minute or so, pour off the water, taking care not to lose any rice. Repeat this washing process until the water runs clear. Usually, this takes 3 or 4 changes of water.
  2. Fill up the bowl 1 more time and let the rice soak for 30 minutes. 
  3. At the end of 30 minutes, drain the rice. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 3/4 cups water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. 
  4. Add the rice, stir, and wait until the water comes back to a full boil. When it does, turn the heat down as low as it can go, and then cover. Cook for 15 minutes. 
  5. At the end of 15 minutes, cut the heat. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; you should see that every grain of rice has grown a little longer and is separate from its brothers and sisters. 
Chicken Makhani Adapted from All Recipes
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup tomato puree (used diced tomatoes pureed in the food processor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teasponnspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pureed low salt cashews
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato puree, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in heavy cream and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.  Add cashews.
  3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

The ruling:
This is different but in a good way. Michael said it was one of the most flavorful dishes he's ever had.  The more we ate, the more we liked it! 

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