Thursday, April 28, 2011

No-Butter Chicken

This is a recipe I got from my friend Jen, who herself got it from someone whose husband is lactose-intolerant. It’s from Food Network Canada. The butter is replaced by plain lactose-free yogurt, to give the sauce a little creaminess despite the absence of butter. It was very easy to make, and I liked the blend of spices. (Note that I didn’t have garam masala on hand, so I used a liberal mix of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and coriander, all ground.) That being said, it didn’t really resemble the butter chicken served in restaurants, so perhaps it’s best not to look at this dish as a faithful recreation, but rather as a variation on Indian chicken dishes. I served it with homemade naan made with this recipe, though that was a complete bust as it tasted nothing like any naan I’ve had before – and I so love fresh naan bread! I think this chicken would be best served with rice and vegetables; you can adjust the heat of the spices to your taste.

2-3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 chopped red onion
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 pinch chili pepper flakes
1 Tbsp garam masala
½ tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup plain lactose-free yogurt
1 cup water

Put a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add oil. When it starts to get hot, add the ginger and onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until onion is soft.

Add the tomato paste, spices and salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, turning the heat down to low. Add the chicken and stir well to coat it and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, yogurt and water, turn heat up to high and cook for 7 to 10 more minutes, till chicken breaks easily when pressed with a fork. Serve hot.

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