First of all I apologise to all my readers for not posting anything for over a month. But those of you who know the real me will know that it is not a new thing :/. But I swear this time the it was not my laziness that was the culprit. It's just that we were all feeling quite down under the weather. We had a glimpse of Spring before it got hidden behind the grey clouds again. The Easter Holidays were the worst ones ever this year with all of us being severely unwell because of a Viral infection. We even had to rush Little T to the A&E because of a tummy bug and it caused severe dehydration. She was poorly for 2 whole weeks and the time dragged. Sometimes, when our kids are unwell, we realise how helpless we can feel as parents. You can see your child in pain but still cannot do anything about it except for offering them even more unconditional love and a safe, secured lap to lie in.
Anyway I guess that's the part of life nobody can avoid. We all get rough patches and we try and overcome them. That's what life is all about isn't it? Oh and yes our tiny little Cherry tree finally gave us the very first blossoms. We are getting lots and lots of rain this year and my back garden is happy. I can see luscious green lawn, an array of colourful blooms and the first batch of strawberries coming out too. All these small things along with the little one's laughter is more than enough to make me happy. :)
My second baby is not very happy about the rains though. Mostly because thousands of slugs are out and about when it's damp and they are quite dangerous for pets, in case they get stuck on their skin. So I don't allow her to be outside for long. Cats and water don't actually get along very well anyway. She will still try to brave the rains for her morning outdoor ritual - pooing in my veg patch, eating grass, drinking the fresh rain water accumulated in various empty pots and of course her most favourite activity, bird spotting, and quite literally so. She is one of the most non-violent cats I've ever seen.in fact she is probably THE most non-violent cats on the face of earth! She would definitely get a place in the party if Gandhi Ji was still around. Tom hasn't killed a fly in her life. Sometimes I pet-sit my friend's hamsters and Tom would just sit outside their cages and look at them, quite affectionately! Similarly she would sit on the lawn and look at the birds, never trying once to catch them or even scare them away. I've had her for almost 6 years now and she hasn't even hissed at anybody, let alone scratching. She is my angel in disguise.
So since everybody at home is feeling a bit better after the ordeal, I decided to make something nice but healthy at the same time to lift up everybody's mood. Hence I made this Butter Chicken but with as little butter as possible. I slow cooked it and it turned out to be a light but tasty curry dish. Here's how I made it.
Kashmiri Butter Chicken
Serves - 4
Prep time - 15 mins
Slow Cooking time - 4-5hrs
Boneless Chicken Thighs - 500 gm
Onions - 2, blended into a course paste
Ginger Paste - 1 tsp
Garlic Paste - 1tsp
1 large red chilli, halved and seeds discarded
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp, roasted and crushed **
Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp, roasted and crushed **
Cardamom Pods - 1, roasted and crushed **
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Ground Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
Chicken Stock - 300 ml
Tomato Puree - 2 tbsp
Butter - 25 gm
Sunflower Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1 tsp
Toasted Almond Flakes - 2 tbsp (Optional)
Cut each thigh into 4-5 pieces. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the chicken pieces, a few pieces at a time. Cook on a high flame until evenly browned. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate.
Add the butter to the wok and when it has melted add the onion paste. Cook over moderate heat until it has just started to colour. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for a further 3-5 minutes till the raw smell is gone. Stir in all the crushed dry spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato pure and cook till oil separates.
Add the stock and season with salt and sugar. Bring to boil.
Transfer the chicken pieces to the slow cooker pot and pour in the hot onion mixture. Press the chicken pieces down below the surface of the liquid. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-7 hours.
Stir in the cream before serving and check seasoning. Garnish with the almond flakes and serve with naan or pulao.
**Notes - It's better if you can make large batches of these dry spices and store them in air tight jars. Makes life easier and the whole cooking process quicker too. Roast large quantities(about 50gms each) of the dry spices like cumin, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon etc separately and grind them. **