A Year of Recipes: #15

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Lots going on here: chicken breasts, onion, garlic, butter, curry, cayenne pepper, garam masala, ground ginger, cardamom, light coconut milk, tomato paste, greek yogurt, bay leaf

The second recipe I made last weekend was a Healthy Butter Chicken, made in the slow cooker.

I adore Indian food, but with huge portions, piles of white rice and of course some delicious naan, it’s not something I can indulge in very often. One of my favorite things to do on a spring or fall weekend/day off is have an insanely long 2-hour cardio workout hiking, biking or jogging – just so I can justify eating a big meal of lamb korma with garlic naan. And for some reason this food is often best accompanied by an action movie, with Kill Bill a long-standing top choice. Oh man, I’m craving it now just talking about it! I think I know what I’m doing next weekend…

Like any good crock pot meal, IMG_5211this was pretty easy to prepare. Cut a lot of things into bite-size pieces, then throw it in the pot!  The recipe called for 1lb of chicken but I had closer to 1.5…never any harm in making extra.

A few weekends ago on a warm, rainy day I headed to the international market in town just to check it out. While I was there I was able to pick up curry powder, garam masala and a pack of bay leaves, and I’m glad I did. I think Kroger sells curry powder but the other two are a little more difficult to get your hands on. Anyways, the next step is to add an absurd amount of spices to the crock pot. I love bold flavors, so this step was exciting for me!

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Oh baby.  My mouth was ready for a flavor explosion.

After adding everything but the greek yogurt, the crock pot ran on high for 4 hours.  I grew very impatient towards the end. When I added the greek yogurt I was unhappy with how the smell of the whole dish changed. Previously it was meaty and spicy, and it just seemed off to me afterwards. I did not worry about this, because often when I cook with greek yogurt the smell puts me off but the taste is fine on the finished product.

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Finished product! I count at least 4 servings in there.

After mixing in the yogurt, I had to wait 15 minutes so I used this time to cook up some quinoa to serve my butter chicken with instead of rice. In the end, I was not very happy with the flavor. It was extremely bland, even with all those spices! It did have a slight spicy burn in the aftertaste, but that was it. The sauce also seemed very thin and perhaps cornstarch could have thickened it up, but I don’t know if that would have helped the flavor much. I ended up having to add salt as I ate, which generally is not something a dish with that many spices would require.

In the end, the lesson learned here is that healthy substitutes sometimes just don’t work. For me, I would rather hold out and have real Indian food on a day where I’ve worked my butt off to earn some than eat something mediocre that just makes me sad I’m not eating the real thing. There are plenty of other healthy meals I’ve made that have turned out delicious – unfortunately this is not one of them!

Taste: 1/4 – Sad day.
Ease: 4/4
Guiltless: 3/4 – if served with a veggies or a small amount rice, pretty reasonable.
Leftovers: ?/4 – I have some leftovers but I’ve yet to find the desire to eat them.

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