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“Butter” Chicken

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I love Indian food and curries. It’s saucey and spicy and there are so many different flavors and varieties.

Butter Chicken 1

Honestly, though, I have zero idea of how to authentically make Indian food. I’ve looked up recipes and done research on more than one occasion. I learned that Chicken Tikka Masala was supposedly concocted in the UK, not India (according to wikipedia, anyway). Crazy, huh?! Interestingly enough, one of my favorite restaurants to order a curry dish at is actually a British pub style place. I guess that all sort of ties in.

On the cooking side of Indian food, I’m usually disappointed when I look up recipes for my favorite Indian foods. Almost all of the curries have heavy cream, half and half, or sour cream. Those are some of my “no way” ingredients. First off, I try to avoid cooking with a ton of dairy – like, cups and cups in a single recipe. Second, I just try to avoid unnecessary fat and unnecessary processed foods. Third, is heavy cream or sour cream really the authentic way to make a curry? Like I said above, I have zero idea what makes an authentic curry dish, but for whatever reason I can’t imagine that the original version has lots of heavy cream or sour cream in it. Maybe us Americans just put that in to make the heat level manageable?

So, this is my Kristin-approved “Butter” Chicken.  Butter is in quotation marks because there is actually no butter in this recipe. I used some pretty generic ingredients for the flavor: Thai Kitchen curry paste, some curry powder, and a bit of cayenne pepper for some heat. The base is tomato paste. I thinned the sauce out a bit with coconut milk and a tablespoon of greek yogurt.

Butter Chicken 2

In the end I had this warm, bubbling, spicy red sauce. Authentic Indian food? Not even close. But, it was delicious. I sprinkled it with a bit of chopped cilantro and we ate it with fresh naan bread. You can serve this with rice, too, but the naan bread totally takes this curry to another level. After we ate probably 3/4 of the recipe (luckily, Steve and I are blessed with quick metabolisms!) we were fully, happy, and, strangely, very sleepy. I hope this dish is as enjoyed in your home as it has been in mine!

Butter Chicken 3

“Butter” Chicken

Serve this spicy dish with rice or homemade GF naan bread.
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs ginger, mnced
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4c + 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 12 oz coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbs garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaping Tbs plain greek yogurt
  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the chicken to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is opaque and cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet, reducing heat the medium. When the oil is warm add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until soft (about 3-5 minutes), stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning.
  3. Add the tomato paste and coconut milk to the pan and stir to combine. If at any point the mixture is boiling or bubbling turn the heat down to low.  Next stir in the curry pasta, curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. When the mixture is combined, add the greek yogurt. If you’d like a thinner sauce than what results stir in more greek yogurt.
  4. Stir the chicken back into the pan and serve with rice and/or naan bread.

PGF: Naan Bread

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I can’t stop eating this bread! It’s actually good!

Usually, I dislike GF bread, but this is made fresh and that seems to make all of the difference. I’ve made this naan bread to go with a few curry dishes. I love curry (I mean it! and the spicier the better!), but I end up filling myself up on bread. In fact, it’s so good that when I make curry dishes I’ve stopped serving them with rice because this naan bread is such a good fit that we don’t even touch the rice.

This bread is not just a side dish for Indian/curry meals. I somehow ended up with a piece leftover after I last made this bread and had it for lunch with some tomato soup. So good! It reheats perfectly in the microwave.

Let’s talk about texture for a minute. I was flipping out about this bread, but before I decided to call it the most amazing GF bread I’ve ever had I wanted to get another opinion. I’d made half the batch GF for myself and the other half batch with wheat flour for Steve. He ate some of his, thought it was amazing, so I told him to eat some of mine to see how it compared. What was his response? The only difference he could come up with between the GF and regular naan was that the inside of the GF version looked different. Fresh GF bread that tastes exactly the same as the regular version? I’ll take it!

The wheat flour Naan bread

The GF Naan bread


Naan Bread

This recipe is written to make half of the batch GF and half of the batch with wheat flour. You can easily adjust quantities to make more or less or each. If you want suggestions for adjusting quantities let me know.
Ingredients (makes 4 GF and 4 regular)
  • 1/4 c hot tap water
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch
  • 1/2 c potato starch
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 c wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (divided in half)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (divided in half)
  • 1 c plain greek yogurt (divided in half)
  • 3/4 c almond milk or other milk of choice (divided in half)
  • salt and garlic powder, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Dissolve the sugar in the hot tap water. Add the yeast, and let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes. It will foam.
  2. While the yeast mixture is sitting, make the flour mixtures. In one bowl, combine white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, and gelatin powder. This is the GF bowl. In the second bowl (preferably on a different table/countertop area than the GF bowl), measure out the wheat flour.
  3. Add 1/2 a tsp of baking powder and baking soda to each bowl, adding to the GF bowl first.
  4. Add 1/2 c of yogurt to each bowl, and half of the almond milk (just measure out 3/4 c and then eyeball half. That’s what I’ve always done and it’s turned out fine each time), again, adding each to the GF bowl first.
  5. By now, the yeast mixture should be foamy. Eyeballing it, add half of the mixture to each bowl, starting with the GF bowl.
  6. Using separate spoons, stir the contents of each bowl thoroughly.
  7. Cover each bowl with a towel and let them rise, at least 1 hour up to overnight.
  8. After the dough has risen, divide the GF dough into four pieces. Flatten each piece into an oblong shape. If the dough is sticky, spray your hands and working area with a bit of cooking spray. Spray each uncooked piece of bread with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and/or garlic powder, if desired.
  9. Heat a nonstick skillet (that has a fitting lid) to medium high heat (I set my stove top to 6, on a 1 – 10 dial). When the skillet is warm place a piece of uncooked bread in the skillet and cover immediately. Check the bottom of the bread after a minute or two, and flip when the bottom has blackened in a few spots. Let cook for another minute or two on the other side, with the lid on the pan. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining 3 GF bread pieces.
  10. When the GF bread has cooked, form the wheat dough into 4 oblong shapes and repeat the exact same cooking process.
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