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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I was first introduced to Butter Chicken dish in 2004 in Tasmania in the form of a sweet, rich and most importantly un-hot curry. Since returning to Singapore after SEP, I've had Butter Chicken twice, first near Bedok camp and the second time at the Science Canteen. Yet the first was very hot, and the second a little hot.

So with my exams over, I felt like making it for myself. Looking at the ingredients list, however, was enough to put me off (Indian food in general needs many many ingredients - this is why curry powder was invented).

Eventually though, I found a recipe which did not need too many ingredients (I only had to buy yogurt and chicken), especially garam masala (the magic ingredient I leave out is included inside, so unless I make my own I'm stuck with an unpalatable substance in my chicken).

Some pictures taken using the new Canon PowerShot A710 IS I got, accompanied by Johnny Malkavian, yesterday (the old one is 4 years old and is getting wonky, and an image stabiliser was appealing):

You may notice black specks in the curry. This comes from simmering it without a cover (I was unsure whether using a metal cover would damage the Teflon and my mother was resting) for 15 minutes without stirring; I am annoyed because I suspect if I'd covered it before simmering for 30 minutes as per instructions, it would have gotten even more burnt.

Instead of using canned tomatoes and tomato paste, I used a tin of 'tomato sauce' (the main ingredient was puree) which might have resulted in a less robust flavour. Also, I forgot to add in the crushed garlic and ginger (I couldn't find the pestle and mortar so I used the tenderiser on the chopped vegetables) till after the chicken had been added, but I don't think that affected the taste. I also added a sprinkle of sugar to up the sweetness quotient a bit.

My mother and I found the taste a little strange - maybe it doesn't pay to use the simplest recipe (her explanation was that it was a mish-mash of flavours). Alternatively, I suspect that I do not have a comparative advantage (let alone absolute advantage) in making Indian food.

Yet, I am still searching for a local version of the Holy Grail - good curry made without chili powder. And since you can't get it commercially here, the only alternative is to make it yourself.

My father asked why I was so kind to keep making food for my brother-in-law. Hurr hurr.

Sometimes I wonder also.
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