Posts Tagged ‘indian food’

I have been making this fabulous butter chicken recipe since I first found it in 2009. I love it because it is the closest to our favourite Bombay Palace’s Murgh Makhani. It is a rich, tangy tomato-based sauce that is completely moreish. I made it in mid-March when our weather suddenly turned into spring with temperatures of 14° C to 20° C (57° F to 68° F) and we had friends over two days after we were released for our latest 100-day lockdown. If it weren’t for our cosy heated patio, I would have surely gone mad.

You can easily make this vegetarian by substituting firm tofu for the chicken but I wouldn’t skip the spice rub and marinade, grilling also adds a level of flavour but not absolutely necessary.

Butter Chicken-Murgh Makhani

Serving Size: 6-8


  • 15 mL olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1.6 L stewed tomatoes
  • 43 g roasted garlic
  • 7 g ginger, grated on a Microplane
  • 3.5 g Meat Masala (see recipe below)
  • 3.5 g Garam Masala (see recipe below)
  • 35 mL lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • Salt to taste
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 100 mL cream
  • Cilantro to garnish

Directions for the gravy:

  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and cook the onions until golden. Add the stewed tomatoes and simmer until it has reduced to two-thirds of the original volume.
  • Add the roasted garlic, ginger, both masalas, lemon juice and stir well to combine. Add a pinch of baking soda and stir until it has stopped bubbling. Blend this gravy with an emersion blender and run it through a fine sieve (I prefer a smooth, creamy gravy). Add salt to taste. You can hold the gravy overnight in the refrigerator.
  • If you are serving immediately, add the butter and stir so that it melts into the gravy. Add the cream and stir well. Hold the gravy on very low heat (be careful, it bubbles quite furiously) and add the chicken just before serving.

This recipe is restaurant quality without the salt and extra calories!

Tandoori Marinades

  • 1 kg chicken, skinned, deboned, trimmed (I used chicken thighs)

Ingredients for the spice rub:

  • 6 g red chili powder (I used mild)
  • 3 g turmeric
  • pinch of baking soda
  • salt to taste
  • 30 mL lemon juice


  1. Combine the ingredients for the spice rub and rub well into the chicken (I would use gloves). Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 100 g Greek yogurt
  • 6 g red chili powder (I used mild)
  • 7 g ginger, grated on a Microplane
  • 30 g roasted garlic
  • 5 g coriander
  • 5 g cumin
  • 5 g garam masala
  • 15 mL lemon juice
  • 30 mL olive oil


  1. Combine all of the ingredients and spread evenly onto the chicken pieces. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours.
  2. When ready to grill, heat the grill to 350° F.
  3. Brush off a lot of the marinade.
  4. Grill the chicken, basting with the marinade once or twice at the beginning until cooked through, about 165° F.

I always double the batch so that I can freeze leftovers for a quick and delicious meal.

Garam Masala

(recipes for the masalas are from HeartSmart flavours of India by Krishna Jamal, 1998)


  • 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground mace

Directions for the Garam Masala:

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a heavy bottom pan and toast until fragrant.

Meat Masala


  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 black cardamom pods
  • 1/4 star anise
  • 3 cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp mace
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp red chili


  1. In a small pan, toast the coriander, cumin, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick and cloves and toast until fragrant. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Add toasted spices to a spice grinder with the remainder of the spices and grind until it is a fine powder. Store in an air-tight container in a cool dark place.

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Remember my dear friend Angela invited me to a taping of the Canadian lifestyle show called Steven & Chris about a month ago? Well, she kindly invited me to another one in October and you’ll never guess who the special guest was! Jamie Oliver! He is as friendly and charming as you would imagine. They had a little question session during the show and my friend Angela had an on-camera question about how he balances his family life with such a busy schedule and his answer was quite surprising; he gave all the credit to the three ladies who manage his life and he even went as far as to say that he just shows up where-ever he is supposed to be! He is very humble but cheeky at the same time. Someone asked how long it takes him to write a cookbook and he said he reserves a year to do it during which he does nothing else. We were thoroughly entertained and as a super bonus, we received his new cookbook Jamie’s Comfort Food as a gift!

Jamie Oliver clowning around.

Jamie Oliver clowning around. Who would have thought that I’d be working in that very kitchen a few weeks later?

Here are a few pics of our very cool time watching the show being taped at the CBC building downtown. By the way, my food styling segment will air Thursday, November 20th at 2pm on CBC.


Jamie made a stuffed bun recipe from the book and he handed out samples to a few lucky people~


Getting ready for the questions.


A sneaky camera man was looking at a woman’s phone as she was texting during a break.

A Review of Jamie’s Comfort Food. Scrumptious, Happy, Classics: 

The book is a beautiful collection of 115 world-wide comfort foods with Jamie’s usual fresh spin on it. It’s a hard-cover, perfect bound book, wrapped in orange fabric with lay flat binding which doesn’t exactly lay flat. The fabric may not have been the best choice for a cookbook. The recipes are divided into slightly less obvious chapters, such as Nostalgia, Good Mood Foods and Ritual to name a few, but the index at the end is alphabetical and it is easy to find what you are looking for. The recipes are traditionally laid out with the instructions in sentence form. I left my cookbook on the dining table to avoid getting it messy in the kitchen and it was difficult to keep track of where I left off in the instructions, I prefer numbered instructions. I found an error in the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe where three ingredients were listed as part of the marinade but half should have been reserved for the sauce (which was listed separately). Usually ingredients listed that are used in two preparations in a recipe are listed as “xxx, divided”. It won’t stop me from making a few other recipes, but I’ll be sure to proofread first.  A real bonus of this book is that every recipe shows the calorie count per serving and at the end of the book, each one has nutritional facts for Calories, Fat, Saturated Fats, Carbs and Sugar so that you may make informed decisions when deciding to make a recipe. This book is definitely gift-worthy and for $37.99 Canadian is quite reasonable considering every recipe has at least one beautiful photo but more like a few. As well, there are a few lovely family photos and some of Jamie cooking dispersed throughout the book, so it’s fun to flip through while sipping on a glass of wine, even if you don’t intend to make anything from it.

During our cottage closing weekend in early October, I took the cookbook and all the ingredients and to make Jamie’s Chicken Tikka Masala! What a dish, full of flavour and all of those warm, comforting spices you would associate with Indian cuisine. JT heard Jamie in a CBC interview saying that Chicken Tikka Masala is now rivaling Fish and Chips as the most popular food in Britain right now. It’s no wonder, this Chicken Tikka Masala totally rocks and I urge you to make it. The nutritional facts for this recipe read a little worse than I prefer at 415 calories, 21 g of fat, 10.8 of which are saturated per serving, so I modified the recipe to make it a wee bit healthier, for the real deal, please click here or purchase Jamie’s book.


I made the dish again at home, it was equally as good the second time around!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 8.

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp each, sweet paprika, smoked paprika and garam masala (see recipe below)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 6 cloves of garlic, grated finely
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 each red and green chilies thickly sliced
  • 800 g boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions for the marinade:

  1. Heat the dry spices in a frying pan until you can smell them. Put into a bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Combine all of the ingredient up to and including the yogurt. Mix well.
  3. Cut the chicken breasts into similarly sized chunks about 2-3 cm (1 inch) cubbed.
  4. Rub the marinade into the chicken cubes and then string them onto a meat skewer alternating themwith a thickly sliced chili. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight.
  5. Remove excess marinade and reserve in the refrigerator. Grill chicken until nice and “golden and gnarly on all sides”*

Ingredients for the Sauce:

  • 2 sweet onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of cilantro stalks, chopped finely (reserve leaves for garnish)
  • 1 tsp each, sweet paprika, smoked paprika and garam masala (see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 500 mL chopped tomatoes (canned is fine, I used San Marino)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (or 2 tbsp coconut milk powder and 1/2 cup water)
  • Remainder of the marinade after you have cooked the chicken.

Directions for the Sauce:

  1. Dissolve the bouillon cube in about 1 cup of boiling water.
  2. In a small splash of olive oil or cooking spray, cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic, the dry spices and stir until you can smell them then add the ground almonds and toast lightly. Add the cilantro stalks and cook for a few minutes. Add the dissolved bouillon cube and coconut milk and cook for a further 20 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend this smooth then add the chopped tomatoes and the left over marinade and simmer for 20 more minutes.
  3. Serve with home-made Naan or Basmati rice.

WARNING: You’d best portion this dish out for left-overs before serving because you won’t be able to stop eating. It’s that good!

Garam Masala (recipe from HeartSmart flavours of India by Krishna Jamal, 1998)

  • 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • Directions for the Garam Masala:

    1. When ready to use in a recipe, heat a large heavy bottomed, unoiled skillet, heat combined spices until fragrant. Allow to cool before use. Store in a cool, dry place.
    2. Notes:

      • Left overs are delicious spread onto a fajita shell and dotted with bocconcini cheese, topped with another fajita shell and grilled like a quesadilla. Serve with a cucumber mint raita.
      • Although there seems to be a lot of garlic, it’s not overly garlicy, so definitely don’t skimp.



      This is the cottage version of the dish. Very tasty indeed.

      ChickenTikkaMasala2_Blog Here we go, bad winter lighting.[/caption

      *from the cookbook

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