Saturday, September 17, 2011

Creating Recklessly Part I: Butter Chicken...

Jan 2011 - So I promised my thoughts on creating recklessly, and while I plan to explain in Part II what I mean by this in regards to jewelry-making, in Part I I'd like to focus on cooking.

In my case, any attempt to cook is me creating recklessly...because my kitchen is always a wreck after I cook! But I love to cook, and with my kids getting older, I have finally found myself returning to this passion. One of my favorite recipes is Butter Chicken. If you are a fan of Indian Food, you will be familiar with the delicious, complex, deeply flavored tomato-based sauce that is laden with butter and cream and olive oil. I made it in this traditional way for many, many years after spending half a year perfecting my spice blend. But last year, after vowing to lose some weight before I turned 40 (and did I mention I had 2 kids over the last 5 years? OK, no more excuses...) I reworked this recipe and dramatically reduced the calories while retaining all of the flavor (and adding some healthy spinach). I've included the recipe below. If you enjoy it, World Spice in Pike's Place Market (206-682-7274) has my blend on file under my name and you can order it custom blended and ground by the pound.

A friend pointed out to me that the spice would be good in other dishes. I had never tried adding it to anything else, but recently, I was given a fabulous recipe for fish sausage and decided to throw the spice into that... randomly throwing a spice into $50 worth of seafood...reckless? Perhaps. But in this case, it turned out to be pure heaven. I've included that recipe below as well with my thanks to my friends who are always willing to share their favorite dishes! Bon Apetit!

Butter Chicken Spice Blend

Blend and grind the following together:
3 tsp chili powder
2 bay leaves
1/4tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Butter Chicken

2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
Spice blend (if you buy it already blended from World Spice, use 2.5 to 3 Tablespoons (the more, the spicier it gets)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes (I use fire roasted)
1 small container of plain yogurt
2 chicken breasts, raw, diced
2 cups (or more) baby spinach, raw

Saute onion in the butter and olive oil until transparent, I like to caramelize them a bit if I have time. Blend the spices, tomatoes and yogurt in a blender until smooth. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the sauce into the pan with the onions and stir until the onions/butter/oil is incorporated into the sauce. Add the raw chicken and simmer until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (15-20 minutes). Add the spinach and cook just until wilted, stirring it into the sauce. If the sauce gets to thin as a result of the water from the spinach, simmer it down a bit and it will thicken. Serve over rice, garnish with cilantro.

Seafood Sausage

.25 to .4 pounds each of:
-Peeled and deveined shrimp
-Dungeness crab
-and 4 large scallops

2 Tbsp butter chicken spice
1 egg
3/4 cup to 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp sea salt (my favorite chef, Jerry Traunfeld here at Poppy in Seattle, swears by Portuguese Cream Sea Salt...and now I do too! Find it at
For spicier sausage add 1/2 tsp harissa or 1/4 tsp of cayenne

Dice all of the seafood and place it, the spices, egg and bread crumbs in a food processor and blend it. It should be fairly smooth, but still have some texture. Take a handful and roll it into a sausage shape with your hands, and then roll that tightly in saran wrap until it is sealed. I usually get between 5 and 6 rolls. Boil a pot of water and drop the rolls into the water. Boil for 10 minutes or until the sausage has set. Unwrap each sausage and slice it. I put the slices in baggies and freeze them for future meals. My favorite way to eat these is to saute red peppers and zucchini in olive oil, then sautee the sausage until warmed and just slightly browned and serve over rice.

Would love to hear how YOU serve this fabulous dish!

No comments:

Post a Comment