Before we get to the food, my thoughts and prayers are with Paris, Beirut, and all the places in the world that are affected by terrorism, crises and conflicts.
Indian food is some of my most favorite food to eat and enjoy. I used to never attempt Indian recipes, and would satisfy my cravings for Indian cuisine at some of the many excellent restaurants in my city. However. Eating out gets expensive and since I love to cook, I wanted to stretch my cooking prowess. A few years ago, I stumbled across a recipe for chicken Makhani, or butter chicken, which is a staple in Punjabi cooking. The recipe I found, courtesy of Bal Anderson, replaced the butter with plain yogurt. I decided to try it out, and it got rave reviews. I’ve never looked back, and have never made it any other way. And I can’t imagine I ever will. This is just that good.
The mix of warming spices from turmeric, garam masala, coriander mixed with fragrant ginger, tomato paste and plain yogurt come together to make an intensely flavored and satisfying dish that comes together in less than a half an hour. I sometimes mix in cubed potatoes or cauliflower florets with the chicken while it cooks, but today I left it simple and served the chicken over brown jasmine rice. Either way, this is warm, comforting, flavorful, guilt (and gluten!) free. What could be better?
Indian no-butter chicken.
barely adapted from Bal Anderson.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 tbsp. garlic, minced (about 4 large cloves)
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. garam masala
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup water
brown jasmine rice for serving
naan for serving
cilantro, for garnish (optional)
scallions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons oil. Once hot, add onions, garlic and ginger and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and ginger and garlic are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, brown sugar, cumin, garam masala, salt, turmeric and red pepper. Stir together and let cook for additional 1-2 minutes to allow the tomato and spices to “bloom” (or become toasted and fragrant). Add cubed chicken and stir to coat the chicken with the spices.
Add the water and yogurt and mix together. Once lightly simmering, partially cover and let chicken cook through, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and serve over rice and with naan. Garnish with scallions and/or cilantro.
Note: If the sauce hasn’t thickened to your preference, turn heat up and allow to rapidly simmer for a minute.
**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**