Butter Chicken & Rice: Indian cuisine made easy for the Irish-English Canadian

A counter and stove-top are littered with the fixings for an easy-made Indian-inspired dinner: butter chicken in a slow cooker, saffron water in a Pyrex dish, rice & raisins set aside in a container, olive oil, store-bought naan bread, etc.My husband and I were introduced to Indian cuisine many years ago and still love it. Although I cannot handle anything too spicy, due to a set of very sensitive tastebuds, I find myself going back again and again for one favourite: butter chicken.

Lately, we’ve had some difficulty getting our favourite Indian restaurant to make our butter chicken orders mild. Maybe they got a new chef, but at some point, whenever we ordered butter chicken, if we did not stress “not spicy” or “very mild”, we would get it delivered in one flavour: “too damned spicy for my palette”. (Insert pouty-sad-face here.)

As a result, I started whipping it up at  home. Sadly, I have not been brave enough to do so from scratch. I cheat!  VH makes a wonderful butter chicken sauce in their “Indian Market” line of sauces. It’s just spicy enough to give me a bit of a “kick” without being painful (most people will not find it spicy), but it also has that sweetness that I’ve grown to love. We have also tried the tikka masala and korma sauces, which are also fantastic!

I also make use of two wonderful kitchen appliances which make my life so much easier: the microwave and the slow cooker.

I know, I know. The microwave?? Isn’t that just for heating things up? That’s the main usage for our nuker, but I’ve found a wonderful way of cooking Basmati rice in the microwave that doesn’t necessarily save time, but it saves effort and doesn’t  leave me with a burned layer of rice on the bottom of a pot on the stove (as the case usually is whenever I follow the cooking instructions on the packages of rice for some reason!). So allow me to share with you my ‘recipes’ for Slow Cooker VH Butter Chicken and Microwaved Saffron Basmati Rice with Raisins.

Slow Cooker VH Butter Chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (no larger than 1.5 in cubes, if possible)
  • 4 jars VH Indian Market Butter Chicken sauce (or feel free to use the other sauces if you’d prefer!)
  • 1/2 cup light cream (or milk) – optional, but I find it adds a creaminess to the dish which is really nice

Method

  1. Plug in and turn your slow cooker onto either low or high (see step 5 for cooking times).
  2. Empty two jars of the sauce into the slow cooker.
  3. Add all the chicken to the pot.
  4. Pour the other two jars worth of sauce over the chicken to fully cover.
  5. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  6. At the last minute, stir in the cream (or milk), if you desire to use it, just to make it a little creamier. Allow to cook for a few minutes more before serving.
  7. Serve over Basmati rice (see recipe below) with naan bread on the side.

Microwaved Saffron Basmati Rice with Raisins

A bowl of butter chicken and rice sits next to some torn up pieces of naan bread on a rectangular plate.Ingredients

  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine – optional: I just find it adds a little something to the rice
  • 2-4 strands of saffron
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 cups Basmati rice (unrinsed)
  • 1/2 cup raisins – optional: you can add 1/2 cup frozen veggies such as peas and corn if you would prefer

Method

  1. Pour the water into a microwave-safe dish, providing you have a proper lid for  it (I use a round, white Pyrex dish).
  2. Add the saffron and tumeric and give the water a stir. If you let it sit for a few minutes, the water should turn a pretty yellow-ish hue.
  3. Add the rice and raisins. Give a quick stir, if you wish.
  4. Place the dish in the mircrowave, uncovered, and cook on high for 15 minutes. Watch for “steam holes” to appear in the rice. If you see these before the 15 minutes are up, stop the microwave and move onto step 5.
  5. Place the lid on the dish, then microwave for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Leave the dish in he microwave for 5 minutes once the rice is done, then remove from the nuker and fluff the rice with a fork.
  7. Serve with your favourite curry recipe.

Tah dah! That’s it. Easy-peasy and stress free. The only time I turn on the stove/oven is to quickly warm up the store-bought naan bread, as per the package instructions (brushed lightly with olive oil and baked for a couple of minutes, in my case). However, in this particular moment, I’m trying them on my little indoor grill (just 2-3 minutes each, as my grill is one with a lid, so both sides are done at once).

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One thought on “Butter Chicken & Rice: Indian cuisine made easy for the Irish-English Canadian

  1. Pingback: Just checking in (here, have some Timbits) « cyberpantry

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