Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Low Fat Butter Chicken

Now, I know the header sounds a bit like an oxymoron, and this recipe doesn't quite live up to its name, perhaps - I would still pick a fat-laden curry over this if choosing by taste alone - but it is delicious anyway, and it fits the bill for a flavoursome, quick, and relatively healthy weekday dinner.

Because we both often go to the gym after work quick meals which taste good are well respected in the Cake household - tonight, for example, I walked in the door about 6.45pm, and Mr Cake arrived about 5 minutes later. We served up dinner at 7.30 - and Mr Cake had to make a mad dash to the supermarket to get chickpeas - so this definitely fits the bill. Oh, there may have been a bit of sitting on the sofa whining about tiredness, hunger and not wanting to cook in there, too, possibly. Just possibly. ;-)

Of course, as with many things it would be improved a bit by longer cooking times - softening the onion up nice and slowly, and letting the sauce simmer down for a while. But our hungry bellies certainly weren't bothered by the hasty preparation!

We often cook either completely vege dishes or just use a little meat to give flavour and I've always thought curry is a dish that lends itself very well to being meatless - it has so much flavour from the spice it doesn't seem to make all that much difference whether it's chicken or chickpeas carrying the flavour. Our butter chicken tonight was laden with cauliflower, potato and chickpeas - all excellent in curry.

Low Fat Butter Chicken (or not) Curry

1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
500g chicken breast, cut into chunks, or veges
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
400g tin chopped tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
375ml can evaporated milk
1 bunch coriander, chopped
Steamed basmati rice, to serve
½ cup thick natural yoghurt, to serve (optional)

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. If using chicken, cook for 2-3 minutes, until browned. Remove from pan. If using vegetables, pre-cook any that need it (potato should be cubed and boiled - cauliflower can be simmered in the curry if you have long enough for that but if you're in a rush steam it quickly in the microwave first).

Heat 1Tbsp of oil in pan on medium. Cook onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until onion softens and browns lightly. Reduce heat to low and add garam masala, turmeric, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring, for one minute, until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and stock. Increase heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Return chicken to pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk and simmer gently until heated through. Stir through chopped coriander and serve with rice and yoghurt. Or delicious naans from the supermarket. Sometimes forgetting to buy chickpeas works out well in the end! ;-)

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