I remember the first time I tried making Indian food at home.
It was years ago, when I was single, living in my little “basement-ish” apartment (6745 1/2! I was so excited to have an address that was a half). Back in the day when I only ate chicken breast. How sad.
I’d been in love with Indian food for a while, so I figured I’d try my hand at it, not knowing what I was doing. I simmered a chicken breast with a can of tomato.. sauce? Crushed tomatoes? I don’t remember what kind I used, but I do remember the splatter mess it made! I seasoned heavily with curry, cumin, turmeric and lord knows what else. And I finished it off with heavy cream. w.o.w.
I look back on that with mixed feelings. Heavy cream in Indian food? Kinda gross. But the single girl with relatively no experience with Indian cuisine faking it thru the process and making something that actually tasted pretty good.. well, I admire that a little.
Fast forward a few years. I received a CrockPot as a wedding shower gift. Though that pot is still in its box (I already had a smaller one and use it frequently), a friend told me about this CrockPot blog. I was intrigued, and immediately looked into it.
I highly recommend checking this out: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ There is a lot of good stuff on there. I really appreciate how she is so honest, especially about the flops. We’ve tried a handful of recipes from this blog, and I’ve loved everything- I just add a lot more spices/seasonings than the recipes recommend.
So back to dinner. My CrockPot made me butter chicken while I went to work and yoga. Husband texted to say the house smelled amazing. When I got home all I could say was “holy s*&%!! That smells legit!” Yup, I said legit. My house smelled like real Indian food.
Here is the original recipe I worked with: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/12/crockpot-chicken-makhani-indian-butter.html
Here’s what you need:
- Onion, chopped
- Garlic (I think I used about 8 cloves..?)
- Cardomom pods (threw in about 20)
- Curry powder
- Garam masala
- Ground ginger
- Raw chicken (had breasts… but it’s better with dark meat)
- Coconut millk (we had regular, full fat milk)
- Tomato paste (small can)
- Plain yogurt (single serving size)
On Tuesday night, I chopped an onion and a ton of garlic, threw it into a bowl and away to the fridge. Took a small glass ramekin (yes! fancy descriptive word for a small bowl!) and filled it up with the dry spices. I am lazy so I didn’t sew the cardomom pods. I don’t measure these days so I really can’t tell you how much of each spice I used.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning. Wake up, throw chicken into the Crockpot. Add onions & garlic. Toss in spice mix. Then tomato paste, coconut milk; I squeezed half a lemon in there (think that may have been a bit much). Stirred it around becasue I can’t help myself, then set it and forget it! This cooked on low all day long.
When I got home, I threw some basmati rice into a pot with salt, cardomom pods and coriander seeds. If I had cilantro, I would have chopped some up and put it in there too. Cook like normal rice (2 parts water, 1 part rice). Honestly, I don’t know the “proper” way to make “Indian” rice. Obviously I don’t have it down because it’s nothing like the restaurants, but I put my best effort out there. Probably needs some sort of oil (or butter) and a few other things.
While the rice is cooking, plop in the plain yogurt and stir it around.
After you stuff your face, pat yourself on the back (like I did). This is good food.