Posts Tagged ‘Indian


Butter Chicken

It takes a lot of will power to resist butter chicken. Far more will power than I have. In a nutshell, I made this on Sunday for the second time in a week, and I very rarely do that. We had it for dinner last night, I had a bit after work for a snack. Gabi took her little spoon and ate a plateful for dinner this evening. Her face smeared orange with sauce, she tapped her little fingers together demanding “Mo?”

Twenty-four hours later, this double batch of butter chicken is about gone. Good homemade Indian food is one of life’s best pleasures. The smells of the spices, the complexities of sweet, sour, spicy. If you’ve never had butter chicken, it’s very much like chicken tikka malsala, one of the most common dishes Americans order at Indian restaurants. The chicken is marinated for a few hours in spiced yogurt, then roasted.

The sauce is velvety and rich, a creamy tomato gravy that  involves heating butter and sauteing garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cumin, mace, cardamom pods, chili powder. You strain the mixture into a bowl, puree the solids, then strain it again. The first time, I added about 1/4 cup of the solids to the strained sauce and preferred the flavor intensity to what I made Sunday, which was just the strained sauce. You put the sauce back on the heat, then stir in dried fenugreek leaves, cream and honey. Mmmmmmm mmmm!

A word about ingredients: this recipe and others you’ll see on this site from time to time call for ginger and garlic paste. It’s available at most international markets and will keep in your refrigerator forever. If you can’t find it, you could substitute by finely chopping 10 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons minced ginger and a teaspoon of water in a mini-food processor. Whir until a paste-like consistency forms. It’s not a perfect substitute, but in this case the paste is only needed for the marinade. This substitute should work.

For the roasting, I used metal skewers. Wooden ones require soaking, and why do the extra work if you don’t need to?

Continue reading ‘Butter Chicken’


Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard

Summer took its final breath last week. The nights are cool enough to sleep with the windows open. Yesterday, I wore a sweater to work. And the farmers’ markets are filled with winter squash, apples, pears,  potatoes and Swiss chard.

I go a little nuts when fall sets in. I can’t wait to dive into the range of fall flavors and the heavier comfort foods. It makes me want to curl up with a blanket and book, although there isn’t much time to do that these days.

I ran across this recipe back in May while mining SmittenKitchen for Indian recipes. It originally appeared in The New York Times. It intrigued me. This week, Jeff returned from the Fair Shares pickup site with two pounds of sweet potatoes. I looked up this recipe again,  picked up the rest of the ingredients and decided it was time to give this a try.

The result is comfort food at its best. Warm, sweet and spicy, and filled with superfoods. I fed Gabi some at dinner tonight, trying to coax her little palate into liking the foods her Mommy and Daddy love. So far so good. The three of us loved this one.

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard
The New York Times, Nov. 14, 2007 via

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper|
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 cup finely chopped tamari almonds, for garnish (optional), available in health food stores
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for garnish.

1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeño. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) Stir in chard and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes total.

3. Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish. Garnish with almonds if desired and scallions.

Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish; 6 as a main course


Saag Paneer

I’m addicted to Indian food. Curries, tandoori, dals — sometimes they’re absolutely necessary.

Today in my fridge, time was ticking for the half pound of spinach left over from last week’s CSA box. I needed to use it. I had yogurt, cream and almost everything else for saag paneer. I drove to the international market and picked up what I didn’t have — paneer and more spinach.

Continue reading ‘Saag Paneer’


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