Butter Chicken Cravings

Today’s blog post started with an extreme craving for a dish that I once had at the restaurant Firkin On Harbour. Firkin is a chain of British pubs that have the name of their location in the title of each joint. I fondly remember going to the restaurant with a group of friends this past summer for Canada Day where I ordered a dish of butter chicken poutine. I believe it had a slightly different name than that, but I cannot seem to find it on their menu anymore, which is a shame, I really quite enjoyed it.

Since my dish is obsolete, I decided to try to recreate it. So throwback to this past Saturday when I took a trip to my local Walmart. As a student and one that is recently unemployed, I am tight on cash and am looking for cheap, yet tasty, food. Walmart is definitely not the place to find superb produce, but sometimes you can find some cheap cuts of meat (however, I can’t vouch that it’s top quality). For my butter chicken poutine I decided that the best cut of meat to buy would be chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs, as the name states, are the thighs from a chicken. The thigh is part of the “dark” meat of the bird which typically is a lot more moist and tender and contains more fat than the “white” meat. Many people find that dark meat possess’ a lot more flavour on its own whereas, white meat tends to be more bland. I chose to use the thigh because of how moist, tender, and rich the flavour is, which I believe goes better in a higher fat dish like butter chicken (Inniss, 2016).

The domestication of chickens started in Southeast Asia in at least 2000 B.C. and possibly before (Clauer). Chickens were not just used for food, in approximately 400 B.C. the Greeks used the chicken for the sport cockfighting; The bird was also sacrificed to Greek and Roman Gods (Carr, 2016). Chicken has been a staple in homes for many years now because it is so easily accessed and due to its reasonable price point. It’s a meat that does not have a strong flavour by itself but rather absorbs the flavours that is put with it. Chicken is known for carrying the bacteria salmonella and must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be safe to eat. It can be sold as the whole bird or into cuts with either skin on or off and also with or without bones. The cuts range in prices, usually the light meat is more expensive than the dark (Inniss, 2016).

I find that chicken thighs are typically either fried or covered in a sauce and over a carb of some sort, like rice. I see a lot of use for it in asian recipes, for example; honey garlic chicken, sweet and sour chicken, ginger chicken, and others. In general, it is not often served alone but as an addition to one final dish. As meat is not cheap, I think that by adding it to other products it is a great way to optimize your meat. The chicken thighs that I purchased were $7.32, weighing in at .556kg and had a total of 8 thighs in the package.

When making butter chicken I never create it the traditional way, I always try to find healthier alternatives. Indian cuisine is not something that I am extremely familiar with, so I did borrow some of the ideas from this recipe  (Susan, 2016), but I still attempted to create my own take on the dish.

Ingredients: 1 Yellow Onion, 1/2 Red Onion, 2 Green Onions, 4 Yellow Potatoes, 1Pkg Chicken Thighs, 1 Can Unsalted Diced Tomatoes, 3Tbsp Tomato Paste, 1Cup Plain Greek Yogurt, 1Pkg Cheddar Cheese Curds, 2Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes, 1Tbsp Turmeric, 1Tbsp Ground Cumin, 2Tbsp Ginger, 2Tbsp Garlic, 1Tbsp Curry Powder, 4Tbsp Olive Oil, 2Tbsp Canola Oil,  3Tbsp Sugar, 1Tbsp Cayenne Pepper, Salt & Pepper To Taste. *All ingredients are approximate (I was more just throwing them in and tasted as I went)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 16357855_10154078048726836_1693186796_o
  2. Put the chicken in an oven proof dish, rub with approx. 2Tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper. Let it cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Roughly thin slice both the red and yellow onion. Cook over medium high heat with 2Tbsp of olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, and yogurt to the pan. Stir. Then add all the spices. Taste to see what it needs more of.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, cut into bite sized pieces. Add to pan. 16357972_10154078048746836_2082263294_o
  6. Wash the potatoes. Peeling is optional (I chose not to). Slice
    into fries either by hand or with a mandolin (I used a mandolin). Rinse off excess starch. Dry. Rub with canola oil and salt place on
    a baking sheet. Put in the oven check every 10 minutes or so, it should take about 25. Flip as you go.
  7. Place fries into a dish, top with cheese curds and then put a layer of the butter chicken on top. Garnish with sliced green onions.

 

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I quite liked the dish that I created overall and would definitely make it again. It had both the sweet and salty aspect that is extremely nice on your palette. All of the ingredients that I didn’t already have cost me around $20 dollars. Which is completely feasible, especially since the quantity is about 4 portions, therefore averaging about $5 dollars a meal. By the end of Saturday night my cravings were satisfied and I learned how to create a new dish, woohoo!

 

 

References:

Carr, K. (2016, September). History of Chickens. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from http://quatr.us/food/chicken.htm

Clauer, P. (n.d.). History of the Chicken (Poultry). Retrieved January 25, 2017, from http://extension.psu.edu/animals/poultry/topics/general-educational-material/the-chicken/history-of-the-chicken

Inniss, J. (2016). Poultry Lecture Notes. Retrieved January 25, 2017.

S. (2016, August 27). Crockpot Indian Butter Chicken {Easy & Healthy}. Retrieved January 25, 2017, from http://www.simplehealthykitchen.com/crockpot-indian-butter-chicken-easy-healthy/

Firkin on Harbour | Downtown Toronto Restaurant | Bar | Pub. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2017, from http://firkinpubs.com/firkinonharbour/

 

 

 

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