Monday, 15 July 2013

Dairy Free Butter Chicken



This has become a stand by dish around here.  It ain't pretty, it's easy, fast and the kids love it.  The best part is I can eat it and these days it feels like there isn't much I can eat.  I know boohoo poor me but the list of forbidden foods has grown....again!

It started with gluten and has grown to dairy, eggs, almonds, and yeasts.  This is extremely limiting but for sanity sake I have to see it as liberating.  It also helps that many of these exclusions are probably temporary while my gut heals and my body stops the inflammatory habit.

This is one of those meals you feel denied nothing.  It isn't heavy on coconut flavour and could stand up to any butter chicken made with dairy.  I also promise the kids love it!!

Dairy Free Butter Chicken
6 skinless, boneless organic chicken thighs
2 med to lg yellow onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp of ghee (or coconut oil)
1 can of full fat (not light) coconut milk
1/2 cup good quality tomato paste
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cayenne (more if you don't have to be kid friendly)
salt to taste
optional, handful of chopped cilantro leaves

Cut chicken into strips and collect the dried spices together in the small bowl

In a medium pan over medium heat, caramelize the onions in the ghee.  When almost done add the garlic and ginger.  Keep cooking until garlic and ginger are fragrant and softening.  Add the bowl of spices and mix well into the onions, garlic and ginger. Let the spices toast about one minute then add the chicken and combine well.  Before the chicken starts to cook and stick to the pan add the can of coconut milk and the tomato paste.  Turn the heat down, cover and let simmer until chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.

Fragrant Rice
This is one dish that makes me hate eating Paleo.  If I 'cheat' it's with this dish.  Because of the recent restriction of almonds and eggs, Paleo staples, I have allowed a little rice back into my life......and almost all of the rice eaten has been this dish.
3 cups basmati rice, brown or white (I use brown)
2 tsps cumin seeds
5 black cardamon pods or 8 green cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
6 tbsps ghee (or coconut oil)
4 cups water (4 1/2 if using brown rice)
2 tsps salt
Thoroughly wash the rice in a large mixing bowl.  Gently swirl the rice in water letting it sink to the bottom and pouring off the cloudy water.  Repeat 4-5 times until water is reasonably clear. Fill bowl again and let rice soak for half an hour.
Drain rice and rinse one last time.  Let it drain well.  Collect all your spices and bay leaves together in a small bowl. Put a large sauce pan on low heat and add the butter.  When butter has melted and is just starting to sizzle, add the spices and stir them around. When you can really smell them gently add the drained rice.  Stir-fry for a minute so that all the grains are lightly coated in the spicy butter.
Pour the water onto the rice and scrap down the rice caught on the sides of the pot.  Add the salt, stir and turn the heat up to bring it all to a boil.  As soon as it starts to bubble turn the heat down as low as it will go and cover with a sheet of tin foil AND the lid making a tight seal.  This will help stop any steam from escaping.  Cook like this for 25 minutes (30 if using brown rice) then turn the heat off and let stand for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove lid and foil and ‘fluff’ with a fork. You don’t eat the cardamom pods or cloves.

Today I had a visitor to worship the sun that was lighting my shot shoot
introducing Mini Cat

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