Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicken Makhani for Diwali

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."
~ John1:4-5

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.

Chicken Makhani
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.


Brad and Renae said...

Yum - thanks for sharing :)

No Greater Love said...

Oh, that sounds delicious. I will definitely make this. Thank you for posting. :) And I am sooooo happy your dossier is in the hands of the orphanage. Wooohooo. Tell me when it gets forwarded to CARA. :o) Yipppeee!!!! Movement is SO exciting.

Sarah said...

Great news on your dossier!!! I'm definitely going to try this recipe.

Jessica said...

YUMMY!!! Thank you for sharing the recipe...and I LOVE that it is for the crockpot :-) What day will you be celebrating this week? We went to a Diwali festival in San Antonio on November 3rd and had a great time!

Congrats on the dossier!

Peter and Nancy said...

Because Diwali is a 5-day event (and longer in India!), we kind of pick the day that works best for our family. This time, we will have our big meal on Saturday. :o)

Miche said...

Thanks for sharing! We did our first Diwali night here with a chicken and pumpkin curry-everyone loved it so I do hope I made it right! I will have to try this one too. What are some of the things your family does for Diwali? We went around the table and shared one thing we were thankful for, and then also went around and had each person tell everyone one thing they loved and admired about each member of the family. The boys loved hearing what Will and I said, and then it was so fun to hear what they had to say for us! It was a pretty awesome Diwali for us, and I hope in two years time that I have recipes and celebrations down and can have our daughter here to do it all too!

AND I'm so excited your dossier is over there! YAY!

Peter and Nancy said...

Hi Miche,

Would you mind sharing your recipe? That sounds SO good! My e-mail is right below this com box.

Because we follow Christ, we will read verses about light, the Light of the world -- and our kids who can read each read a verse. We use lots of candles on the table, including some homemade diyas (clay lamps that hold tea lights). In India, you'll see strings of white lights hung lengthwise on the sides of buildings (from roof to ground), and elaborate arrangements of candles -- you can google questions about Diwali to find out what they look like. There are lots of other Indian customs you can use or adapt to fit your family's religious beliefs.

There's also a children's book I just found online called "Amma, Tell Me About Diwali," which gives some of the Hindu meaning -- but I haven't read it yet. I usually try to check books out at the library first to see if I want to buy them. :o)


Jessica said...

I made the Chicken Makhani last week and it was great! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

Also, thanks for the comment on my blog :-) I just noticed it today.