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BUTTER CHICKEN

Have you ever had a ‘Foodmare?’ (foody nightmare) I promise it is a thing and will catch you by complete surprise!

I was plagued by one of these such events yesterday evening. Our brains are such a fascinating machine. They have the power to create and justify an absolute truth for us in moments and before we know it we assign ourselves to rigid thoughts rather than remaining open to alternative ways of thinking.

These stigmatic mind sets are evident everywhere we look and the culinary world is no exception. Close your mind for a moment and think about a specific type of cuisine or food you like and dislike. Are there any generic phrases that are billowing through your thoughts? When I tried this exercise for the first time, immediately I saw TOFU in big red warning signs with adjectives like soggy, mushy, no flavour, terrible texture, too high in estrogen, etc. following closely behind.

For years I allowed this view to hinder me in my culinary exploration of this unsung hero. Needless to say my foot slowly made it’s way to my mouth and I had some apologies to make to the wondrous soybean. After allowing myself to put on my big boy pants and experiment around with this fabulous veggie protein it is now one of my favourite items to work with. It is extremely adaptable and it’s versatility continues to inspire creativity within me. So close your eyes again…envision ‘Butter Chicken.’ Now whichever conditioned thoughts you have, put them to the side for a moment and try my version of this widely known traditional dish below. I want to hear those tastebuds sing the love of butter chicken when you are through! Bon Apetit!

BUTTER CHICKEN

This recipe serves about 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp vegan butter (I like to use “Earth Balance”)
  • 1 kg chicken cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 bruised cardamon pods (or 2 tsp ground cardamon)
  • 1 can of tomato puree
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Garnish

  • cinnamon sticks

Preparation

  • Place your pan on the stove and heat on medium. Once heated, add the first 2 tbsp of butter and stir-fry the chicken. You can cook them in 2 batches if your pan is too small.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan.
  • Put the second 2 tbsp of butter in the pan with all of your spices and slowly heat the spices for a minute or two until you can smell the aroma.
  • Put the chicken back in the pan and stir so you mix in all the spices with the chicken.
  • At this point, add the tomatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the coconut milk and lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve over brown jasmine rice.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and a stick of cinnamon for extra fanciness points.