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bal’s no-butter indian chicken

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last Spring, I anxiously awaited the launch of the Cooking Channel. I was excited to have a new batch of cooking shows to watch and learn from. I couldn’t wait for Spice Goddess to premier and it finally did last month. This show is hosted by Bal Arneson and is all about Indian food. I haven’t traveled to India yet, but love the food, sounds, color, movies, etc. I can’t wait to visit one day.

I love this show, Bal makes Indian food accessible and easy to cook. She explains everything as she goes, which is good because some of the spices she uses I’ve never heard of; and puts a healthy spin on her recipes. She also peppers her recipes with stories of her childhood in India.

When I watched Bal make this chicken dish I was sold. It was creamy and had the signature orangy-yellow color that I associate with Indian food. (This typically comes from turmeric or yellow curry powder.) This chicken  looked easy and the only thing I was missing were two spices, turmeric and garam masala. I know what turmeric is and my local market sells it, but garam masala, I had no clue what that was and if my market even had it. As luck would have it, my market sells garam masala in their bulk bin spice section. I filled my little spice bags and was ready to go.

This dish is easy to prepare and you cook everything in one pan, which I love! I was so proud of myself that I successfully made my first Indian dish on my own and it tasted great. I served this over brown basmati rice. See below, for how I used the leftovers.

If you get the Cooking Channel, check out Bal Arneson’s show, Spice Goddess, she is a joy to watch.

Bal’s No-Butter Indian Chicken
(my substitutions in parentheses)

2 tbsp grape seed oil (used olive oil)
1 small red onion, chopped (used a white onion from the garden)
2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
2 tbsp tomato paste (used tomato sauce since it was already open)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp red chile flakes (used red pepper flakes)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into cubes
1/4 cup low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup water

Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it starts to get hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for 4 minutes, or until the onion is golden. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar, cumin seeds, garam masala, red chile flakes, turmeric, and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken cubes and stir well to coat it. Add the yogurt and water and cook, stirring until the chicken is done, about 8 minutes. Serve the chicken with roti or rice.

How easy is this!

If you are wondering why it’s called no butter, my thought alone is because there tends to be a lot of butter used in Indian cooking and this recipe omits it. In India they use  ghee, a clarified butter. I can’t say for sure though. 

Leftover meal

I had leftover zucchini from the zucchini cakes so, I chopped it up and sautéed it for a few minutes then added the leftover chicken mixture. It lost some of its creaminess in the fridge so I add a couple spoonfuls of sour cream. I also tossed in the rest of the rice and stirred it all together until it was heated through. It tasted so yummy!

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