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More Murgh Makhani by Mike

Review of Kadhaai Butter Chicken –Ready to Cook Spice Mix

Part I: The Cooking

To prove how dedicated I am to this project I made this meal about an hour after getting back from my camping trip with Max. It was a good trip and at least it only rained at night. I was a little short on sleep and dehydrated from a day in the sun, but I knew the cure for that:

Beer I drank while cooking:

Commodore Perry, a handcrafted IPA brewed in Cleveland by the Great Lakes Brewing Company. “Don’t Give Up The Sip!” It is a medium bodied beer that I quite enjoyed. Not too heavy, but it definitely had some flavor.

The cooking for this one was relatively easy – I chose it on purpose because I knew I wouldn’t want to do anything complicated after getting back from camping. The box proclaims, “JUST ADD CHICKEN & TOMATOES” and it doesn’t lie. Cooking the Curry was not overly complicated. Cooking the rice on the other hand was another story. I bought some Texmati rice to go with this weeks curry. Texmati is essentially Basmati, but grown in Texas – clever those marketing folks. I put the rice in the rice cooker and added the correct amount of water and…nothing happened. Our rice cooker appears to have taken an early retirement. There were directions on the rice package for boiling in a pot on the stove. Knowing how easy it is to overcook or undercook rice on the stove I was worried about the amount of water I had in the pot. Its different for the rice cooker and I was just sure I was going to have burnt rice. I spoke this thought aloud several times (read: whined about it for a while) until Kira suggested I dump the water out and start over. I wasn’t sure our strainer had holes smaller than the rice, but it worked and I had the rice going and could finally start on the curry.

As promised all of the prep I had to do was cut up the chicken and puree the tomatoes. I was really tempted to improvise while I cooked this but I didn’t want to skew the results. It could be the first time I have ever sautéed chicken without using garlic. And if I was making the sauce myself I probably would have added at least some rice wine vinegar and salt to the tomato puree. I restrained myself. I noticed last time that we had a little Naan left over and I decided to preempt that by using the Naan to taste the sauce as I was cooking it. A very tasty system I will probably employ going forward.

There is no cream added in this recipe only water “to desired consistency.” Still, I wanted to try the sauce before watering it down to see how much kick it had. The answer was disappointing. I let the chicken simmer in the spices and tomatoes for several minutes, but I found that it still tasted very tomatoey (If Sarah Palin can make up words so can I ). Since the directions were vague on how much water to add I decided to use the measurements I learned from last time and just added a glass of water. That turned out to be just about right. It was still a little thin, but if I had added any less there would have been no sauce at all. Lastly, I must confess that before I served the meal I did garnish with a little bit of cream.

Beer I drank with the meal:

Dos Equis because that is what was cold and after tasting the curry I figured it wasn’t worth drinking another interesting beer. Which isn’t to say I don’t like Dos Equis – it just isn’t anything new.

Part II: The Eating

It is fair to say I was suspicious of this recipe from the beginning. No cream – really?!? I suppose I sort of held out hope that the simplest recipe might turn out to be the best, but I knew that was a long shot. It wasn’t bad by any means, it just has a lot to live up to. The more I ate the more I liked it and I even had seconds, but keep in mind I had been camping just prior to this and it was my first non hot dog meal in 24 hours. Remember all the trouble I went to to cook the rice? It turned out wonderfully and during dinner I kept raving about how good the rice was. I may just have been hungry, but it was possibly the best rice I have ever had.

There were some leftovers, but hardly any sauce just chicken. I needed something to put on my leftover rice so I added a couple teaspoons of curry powder and a cup of half-n-half and brought it to a boil. It tasted pretty good at lunch today, but was still a little bland compared to the previous Butter Chickens.

Verdict:

Dead Last on spiciness. Last on flavor. First place for Rice.

Things I learned while making this:

Butter Chicken was invented in Delhi by Kundan Lal Gujral at his restaurant Moti Mahai. The story is that he would have left over pieces of Tandoori chicken and they would use them in the Butter chicken the next day.
Recipe

Boneless Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce
DO NOT ADD ANYTHING ELSE. CONTAINS SALT TOO.

Pan Method (Serves 3-4): Heat 2 tb of butter in a pan. Add boneless chicken pieces and sauté until chicken is properly fried and crisp. Add tomato puree / finely chopped tomatoes, spice mix and cook until the chicken is tender and spices are well done. For gravy add water to desired consistency and cook for 5 min.

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