We love celebrating the heart of Diwali: the victory of good over evil, light over darkness.
"In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
I'm happy to say that last week we received an e-mail from the orphanage saying that our dossier was in their hands! (Yipeeeeee!)
I was really excited for a few minutes . . . and then I remembered that Diwali will shut down all court activity for a few weeks. (Nnoooooo . . .)
But overall, I am very, very grateful that it's there, in India, at last. Or again. However you prefer to think of it!
In the meantime, I am planning our family Diwali celebration later this week, which always involves food. Glorious, yummy Indian food! The kids have requested Chicken Makhani, which I make so often that it doesn't feel like holiday food anymore. (But it does for the kids, who LOVE it.) It is such a savory, delicious recipe -- the aroma alone will make you weak in the knees.
I posted this recipe a few years ago, but thought I'd re-post it for the newer India adoptive families we've "met" online during the past year. This is a very easy, lighter version of Chicken Makhani (pronounced "mock-a-knee"). It's also called Butter Chicken at some Indian restaurants; the restaurant version is delicious too, but MUCH richer and a wee bit less healthy.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (you can use frozen)
1 medium onion, diced
1 14-oz. can coconut milk (I use the light version)
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp. butter
15 cardamom pods*
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. garam masala
1/8 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on your preferred level of spiciness
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup plain or Greek yogurt (can be fat-free)
Place frozen chicken in crockpot. Layer with onions and dot with butter. Place cardamom seeds in middle of layers. In a medium bowl, mix tomato paste, coconut milk, lemon juice, garlic, curry, cayenne pepper, garam masala, and ginger. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or high for 5 hours. 30 min. before serving, remove chicken pieces and shred with two forks, then return it to the sauce to keep warm. Remove and discard cardamom pods or seeds, then stir in yogurt 15 minutes before serving. Serve over jasmine or basmati rice. Enjoy!
*If you don't have an Indian grocery near you, Penzey's carries whole cardamom pods in their stores and online. You can also buy the seeds loose; there are 18-20 seeds in a pod. The authentic thing to do is tie the pods together with string. (Yeah. I am not good at this.) What I do instead is empty out a cheap tea bag, put in the pods or seeds, and tie it shut with the tea bag string. (I know-- I am such a cheater!) Penzey's also sells Garam Masala.