Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not Always Fine And Dandy!

  I want you to know that not always does a recipe go well and everything doesn't always come out picture perfect.I have had my share of  'nothing-is-going-right' moments. Worse is when I am about to have friends over for dinner and end up having to quickly make something else to serve.One such incident happened recently to me.As my husband put it,my lucky charm of preparing great foods went out the window as soon as I turned 27.It WAS my first cooking after my birthday and nothing but the chapati(whole wheat indian flat bread) came out right.So I guess somewhere in my kitchen,my lucky charm was hanging by a thread.Anyway,long story short,I had friends visiting us from Montreal that weekend and was gonna cook for them this great Indian meal of Butter chicken,Indian cauliflower with peas and Chapati.I had to grill the chicken in the oven on 500 degrees F and when I opened the oven to check,I ended up getting a burn just from the heatwave.Note to all,don't reach over the door upon opening an oven at that temperature.So,with a burning right hand(I'm a righty),I proceeded to cook and everything went downhill.The chicken overcooked and became rubbery and the cauliflower burned while I was getting something for my hand. The butter sauce though came out pretty well but the cauliflower dish was not salvagable,sad! Our friends were such good sports and had my sadly failed dish for dinner.They actually liked the flavor of the butter chicken dish.They called it the 'Chewy chicken dish' and even had it for lunch the next day.It tasted good but it was like you were chewing on a chicken flavored chewing gum.Lol!Since it was a really good recipe,I will still share it with you.My next post will be on the Chapatis.

Non-Chewy Butter Chicken Recipe

You'll need:

6  Chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and Red chili powder, to taste
1 cup Yogurt
2 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Garlic
1 1/2 tbs Tandoori masala(you can get this at the international aisles at ur local grocery stores)
3 tbs Butter
2 Cardamoms
1 Cinnamon stick
2 Cloves
4  Ripe tomatoes, blended
1 tbs Tomato paste
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tbs Honey or Agave nectar
1 tbs dried Fenugreek leaves(if unavailable,you can use 2 tsp of Fenugreek seeds)
1 cup and 1 tbsp  Heavy cream
extra Butter or Coriander to garnish
1 1/2 cups Frozen Peas (optional)


Marinate the chicken cubes in lemon juice, salt, chili powder, yogurt, ginger, garlic and tandoori powder for at least half an hour. Overnight would be the best. Preheat the oven to the highest grill setting which is about 450 degrees F - 500 degrees F. Place the chicken on a baking tray closest to the grill and grill for at least 10 minutes on each side or until cooked.Make sure you don't exceed the time as this will result in my famous 'Chewy Chicken'. Allow the chicken to cook until it JUST starts to char.If you have a barbecue grill,you can grill it right on that.It actually might be a safer method....from my experience. You just have to make sure the chicken cubes are tender and moist.Remove from oven or grill and set aside.
To prepare the gravy, heat and melt the butter. Add the the cardamoms, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Stir fry for a minute before adding the tomatoes and tomato paste, Let this simmer on low to medium heat, half covered, for about 15-20 minutes. You will notice the gravy thicken and the oil will form a film on top. If the gravy is too thick, you can add a small amount of water . Add the rest of the ingredients as well as the grilled chicken and simmer for another 15 minutes. You can add frozen peas if you wish and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. Garnish with butter or coriander.

I don't have many pictures as it wasn't a fun day of cooking.Despite my husband's prediction of me  losing my charm in cooking,I want you to know that I have re-discovered it and am in full steam with my cookings so fear not,there will be many more recipes to come.The lesson here is that regardless of failed attempts,the one thing you must never do is give up and never attempt it again.As the old saying goes 'Practice makes perfect' and yes,it implies to cooking too.Haha....have a great time trying and serving this delicious dish.You can serve it with any Indian breads or rice.

With love for food and you,

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