Saturday, 14 July 2012

Butter Chicken (Dairy Free)

Around here, we LOVE Indian food. The delicious flavours, the unbelievable aromas, and the added bonus of being good for you (well, most of it).

Butter Chicken is an all around crowd pleaser. It's simple, and great tasting without overwhelming curry flavour which some people tend to shy away from.

Now when feeding an autistic child, it's very easy to fall into the same old peanut butter, carbs, bland bland bland routine. It's what most autistic kids prefer. Little man however, goes through short lived stages like this, but then quickly pops back out of them. He actually has quite a broad diet for an average child much less an autistic one. I believe that this is because we are constantly offering new food. Just because he doesn't want to try a particular something today, doesn't mean that he won't give it a go tomorrow. Same with likes and dislikes. I will not force a child to eat something that they do not like. They do need to try it though, and fairly often. Tastes and preferences change, never know when you might enjoy something if you don't try it.

This recipe however is loved by all. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like, and it reheats really well. Also, it's full of that oh so yummy and great for you coconut milk. I like to cook poppadoms to go with this dish as they are delish and made with lentil flour and therefore gluten free. You could use naan bread though if you are not gluten free, both are great.

          Hope you enjoy this recipe, I'd be happy to hear any feedback. :)

Dairy Free Butter Chicken

1 TBSP Ghee
1 TBSP Ginger 
2 garlic cloves
2 green Chillies (seeded) I like green finger chillies, but jalapenos are fine also
Cilantro, about a palm full, washed
1/2 TBSP Garam Masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 Can coconut milk (full fat)
S&P to taste
4-6 Chicken legs or breasts
Cooked basmati or jasmine rice to serve

- In a blender, food processor or with a mortar and pestle, blend ginger, chillies, garlic, and cilantro into  a paste. You may need to add a splash of water to get it to blend.

-Heat ghee in pan, add paste and cook for about 4-5 mins on med-high

-Add garam masala. Be careful that is doesn't burn. Cook for 1-2 mins, or until very fragrant.
-Stir in tomato paste. Lower the heat to low-med. Use a rubber spatula to ensure that you don't stick any to the bottom of the pan. Stir over heat for about 10-15 mins. It will get brown in colour and quite thick.

-Whisk in entire can of coconut milk. simmer on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

-Season quite Liberally. The sauce needs to be enough seasoning for the chicken and the rice.

   There are a couple of options for the execution as far as the chicken is concerned. You can either Chop the raw chicken breasts into chunks and to the sauce. This way the chicken will only take about 5 mins to cook. Or You can leave the breasts whole, seer them in a hot pan with a touch of oil and then finish the cooking of them in the sauce. Or there is my favourite, which is with chicken Legs. They're inexpensive, more flavourful, as well as more authentic.

To use legs, I like to remove the skin. I then roast them in a very hot oven, until completely cooked. Once they are cooked I add them to the sauce. Instead of simmering sauce on stove, once blended, pour over chicken legs, put a lid on the pan and pop it into a 200°F oven. leave for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the chicken is falling apart. Serve over a bed of rice, garnish with fresh cilantro, and enjoy!