Saturday, January 18, 2014

Butter Turkey

In my previous life, I lived in Chicago. I lived about 2 miles north of Devon Avenue. Now that may not mean anything to you. It didn't mean a whole lot to me except that I lived fairly close to some really delicious Indian food and I saw stunningly beautiful Saris and Salwar Chemises in the store fronts. Then one day I was talking to my beautiful sister in law (who happens to be of Asian Indian ethnicity) and her parents and they got very excited that I lived close to Devon Avenue. Apparently Devon Avenue is known throughout the Indian Community as a shopping mecca. 
My two Salwar Chemises- given to me by my sister in law's mother

I happen to love Indian food. A lot. Last year's New Year's Resolution (which carried into this year) was to cook 2 recipes from each cookbook that I own. This has been a really fun informative journey. So last year I cooked from books I had that I had never cooked from before. And I cooked from the time tested all purpose cookbooks.The cookbooks I have left fall into 4 separate categories: Cookbooks that held some appeal at one time and now I don't know what I wanted to cook out of them, cookbooks that I just didn't get to, but I'm sure I'll find something interesting in them (like the Cooking Light yearbooks), cookbooks that are just exotic enough so that I wonder when it would be appropriate to cook from (a whole cookbook on cheesecake? 3 separate fondue cookbooks?) and finally cookbooks that I have pretty much cooked the entire cookbook and now I have to find 2 more recipes from it. Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking by Raghavan Iyer falls into the last category. 

Seriously I love this cookbook. I can tell you my copy is well worn and has some nice splatters on it even though I try to keep my cookbooks un-splattered. The Egg Tomato Curry is an old standby for me. As is the Mutter Kheema. They are comfort food. I've also blogged the Sag Paneer. I've also really enjoyed about 10 other recipes in this book! Raghavan Iyer has also written the cookbook 660 Curries which is on my shelf and I have blogged about a recipe out of it here and here and here. I swear I'm not some crazy stalker of Mr Iyer. He just makes Indian food accessible and his recipes always turn out.

When I used to dine on Devon Avenue, the Butter Chicken was my favorite. In all it's heady deliciousness. It's a little spicy and it has a hard to describe flavor. It is the flavor of Methi leaves, or as they are also known Fenugreek leaves. I can not find Methi leaves here in rural northern Ohio. I did find them in NYC while visiting Super G. I'm sure that I could find them in any major metropolis that has an Indian grocery store. I know they exist on Devon Avenue! I can't describe the smell except to say that it's a sweet smell. A good sweet smell, not a sickly sweet smell. I can also tell you that when I opened the package I thought to myself that I should have made this a long long long time ago (like when I first visited Super G and picked them up!) On the internet I read that they have a maple syrup aroma and flavor. I think that's hooey. But I don't think I could describe it any better.
Cold outside? Second coming of the Polar Vortex? This curry will warm you up!

Our little family doesn't eat a whole lot of chicken. We buy turkeys at the fair. So we have turkeys in the freezer. It seems pointless to buy chicken when we have turkeys. So I made Butter Turkey. I cut down on the cayenne a little and I used olive oil instead of ghee. The picture looks a little dry because I had an overtired toddler hanging on my leg while I was making it. And then said toddler had to go down for nappy before I could take the picture (and eat it). This is the second time I've made it and the Brain also seems to be a pretty big fan. I served it with Yogurt with Fresh Mint (Pudhina Raita). I didn't alter that at all, so you'll have to buy the book for that super delicious condiment! Seriously, you should go buy the book for all the other recipes in there. Every single one that I've made is absolutely delicious.

Butter Turkey
adapted a little from Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking

1 pound turkey breast pieces cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger (I used the convenient squeeze tube that you can get at the grocery)
5 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
heaping 1/8 tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 Tbsp dried Methi (Fenugreek) leaves - crumbled

Mix all the ingredients except the oil, tomato sauce and methi leaves together. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the turkey mixture and tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
Stir in the methi leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the turkey is cooked through.

This is really good with rice or naan, and a generous scoop or two of raita!

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