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Mike's Recipe, April 2013
Chicken Makhani

Our love for the lunch buffet at Thali of India is no secret. Ever since I took a job closer to home in Brockport, I've missed random lunch trips to the Henrietta spot. It's now a rare Saturday that it works out for us to enjoy the great curry.

When we are at the buffet, Heather tends to take small samples of many of the different options available. Not me! I usually head straight for the wonderfully orange Chicken Makhani, always positioned at the far end of the buffet line. Because our trips have become so rare, I wanted to try my hand at making this curry at home.

After googling around a bit I ended up selecting a recipe at allrecipes.com. There are lots of ingredients but only three cooking steps! It sounded relatively painless.

I put together the sauce first. I followed the instructions pretty precisely and things went relatively smoothly. I got a little overwhelmed with keeping the quantities of all of the spices straight. I ended up turning the heat way down on my pan for a bit so I could get things straight without scorching the onions. I used whole ginger and garlic that I grated myself. Heather found me all of the spices on her last shopping trip, including the garam masala which is actually a blend of spices. As they went in the pan with the butter it was super cool to start getting the smells that reminded me so much of the restaurant. I think I'm going to make up my own pre-mix of all the spices so that we can quickly make this curry again in the future.

Once all of the spices thickened with the butter and onions in the bottom of the pan, I added the tomato sauce, yogurt, and half-and-half. It was at this point that I was worried I broke the sauce. You can see the white specks in the picture below (which was taken right after adding those ingredients). When I talked to Heather about this after she told me that it was probably just because the yogurt hadn't been fully incorporated yet and that I shouldn't worry.


With the sauce on a low simmer, I switched to another pan to cook up the chicken. As the recipe instructs, I put some peanut oil in the pan, heated it up, and dropped the chunked up chicken in. Heather was not able to get any organic chicken thighs at Wegmans so we went with breasts instead. The chicken cooked pretty slowly, especially considering I was paranoid about cooking it all the way through. Once it all seemed pretty well cooked, I added garam masala and cayenne to it. Again, the smell was amazing. It got even better when I spooned in a bit of the sauce.


Once all of the sauce was mixed with the chicken I was really pretty proud of what I had put together. It wasn't a complete replication of what Thali puts out, but it was still incredibly satisfying. We spooned it over rice and added a fresh mince of onion, cucumber, and pepper on top (another favorite thing to do at Thali). My rendition was quite a bit spicier than the inspiration as well. I may have gone a bit overboard on the cayenne pepper, but the higher heat was a unique twist.


You just read one of Upstate Crumbs' monthly New Recipe posts. Every month, Mike and Heather will each make a post about a new recipe. For Mike, it will usually be an adventure in trying to learn to cook. For Heather, she'll pick something that is outside of her comfort zone in some way.
By Mike on April 22, 2013 at 6:57pm EDT Topic(s): recipes new recipes home cooking indian curry chicken makhani

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