Chicken Makhani, Raita, and Naan

I have always loved East Indian food. The exotic flavors, the yogurt sauces, the naan…my word, the naan! I have several dishes of Indian influence that I make on occasion, but since most of them are spicier, I’ve been trying to find some mellow recipes that the husband might enjoy.

Thus, tonight I tried chicken Makhani, and I made my first attempt at naan.

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Chicken Makhani (Indian butter chicken)

2 T olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
2 T butter
2 t lemon juice
1 T garlic, minced
1 T ginger, minced
1 t garam masala
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground corriander
1 bay leaf
1/4 cu plain yogurt
1 cu half & half
1 cu tomato puree
cayenne to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 t garam masala
1 T ground cashews
1/4 cu water

1) heat 1 T oil in large saucepan over med high heat; saute onion until tender
2) stir in butter, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and spices; cook for 1 min
3) add tomato puree; cook for 2 min; add yogurt and half & half; reduce heat and simmer for 10 min, stirring frequently
4) heat 1 T oil in large skillet; cook chicken until lightly browned
5) reduce heat and season with garam masala; add a few spoonfuls of sauce and simmer until liquid has reduced; transfer chicken to sauce
6) mix cashews and water, stir into sauce and simmer 5-10 min, until thickened

– – – – –

Raita

2 cu plain yogurt
1 t cumin
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t salt
1 T onion, finely chopped
1 med cucumber, chopped
1/4 cu fresh cilantro, chopped (opt)
2 tomatoes, chopped (opt)

1) combine first five ingredients, cover and refrigerate minimum of 2 hours
2) add cucumber, cilantro, and tomato just before serving

– – – – –

Naan

1 (.25 oz) pkg yeast
1 cu warm water
1/4 cu granulated sugar
5 T plain yogurt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 t salt
~3 cu flour
2 t garlic, minced (opt)
1/4 cu butter, melted

1) in large bowl, dissolve yeast in water; let stand 10 min
2) stir in sugar, yogurt, egg, salt, garlic, and enough flour to form a soft dough
3) knead on lightly floured surface until smooth; place in oiled bowl, cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled (~1 hr)
4) punch down dough, pinch off large handfuls and roll into balls; place on tray or cookie sheet, cover and let rise until doubled (~1/2 hr)
5) heat a lightly oil a cast iron skillet on med; roll out dough very thinly and place in skillet, brush top with melted butter and cook 2-3 min, until puffy; turn over, brush cooked side with butter, cook another 2-3 min

Bread can be frozen; reheat in oven at 400 for 3-5 min
Garlic alternative: let soak 10 min in melted butter before brushing onto bread.

Thai Yellow Curry

This proved to be a very delicious mild yellow curry (granted, I cut down the amount of chili paste by 3/4 to accommodate the more delicate taste buds in the house…but I had cayenne standing by for my portion!). I couldn’t find a decent pumpkin, so I used butternut squash instead. It was muy yummo, and easier than I thought it would be considering the length of ingredients. Even the Dearliest liked it, which is wonderful because until now I think my curries have been a little…more than he cared for. 😛

I’m growing increasingly more fond of “one pot” meals in general, because so far they have all been extremely versatile and adaptable to just about anything I want to throw at them!

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Thai Yellow Curry
(base recipe from About.com)

1/2 small pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 small sweet potato, peeled & cubed
2 carrots, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 T orange zest
1/2 cu broccoli florets
1/2 cu spinach

Sauce:
4 cloves garlic
1/2 t chili paste
1 can coconut milk
2 T soy sauce
2 t brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lime
juice of 1 medium orange
1/2 t turmeric
1 T rice vinegar (or sub apple cider vinegar)
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cumin
1 t fennel seed
1/3 purple onion, sliced

1) Place all sauce ingredients in blender or food processor; blend until smooth; set aside
2) in large wok or skillet, combine squash, sweet potato, carrots, and sauce; bring to boil over med-high heat, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft
3) add remaining ingredients and simmer another 3-5 minutes; season with more soy sauce or chilies as desired

Serve over rice.

My First Wedding Cake

My brother-in-law got married about a week ago, and for the week prior we had 5-14+ people at the house. Busy times, but good times. I got some good experience cooking for masses, and I remembered with alarming clarity how pressured and exhausting–but in a good way–preparing for a wedding can be. All things considered, the plans went beautifully, the wedding was wonderful, and I was So Happy to be a part of it! My main duty (aside from feeding as needed) was to help T.W. with the cake. She baked, we both iced (but she did the hard part), I piped decorations, she flowered. You can see where this is going, of course.

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