***Disclosure: As a World Market Brand Ambassador, I receive promotional items and information to facilitate my posts. As always, all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Experimenting with global flavors can be intimidating, at first. Other countries use a variety of spices and cooking techniques that aren't widely used by home cooks here in the United States. Cardamom? Garam Masala? Coconut Milk? Luckily, while these ingredients sound a bit obscure here in the states, they are easy to cook with, and the results are delicious. Plus, you can find some culinary inspiration right at your local movie theater!
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it's making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy - posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig).
So basically, this movie captures the joys of love, of life, and of reinventing one's self, even in the golden years. After all, it's never too late to find love. With an all-star cast featuring the likes of Maggie Smith, Richard Gere, and Tamsin Grieg, this film is sure to become a fast favorite. Check out the official trailer below:
Oh, and cooking amazing, Indian-inspired meals is easier than you might think. In fact, you can have a mouthwatering, restaurant quality, Indian feast on the table in less than an hour. Don't believe me? It can be done, and it's actually pretty darn painless!
I would love to show you how to prepare a traditional Indian dish that is not only full of rich, colorful flavors, it is kid-friendly, too. (Not ALL Indian food is packed with blistering heat!) Makhani Chicken, also known as Indian Butter Chicken, is a simple dish that is sure to have your family licking their plates and asking for seconds.
First, you're going to want to cut about a pound of boneless skinless chicken breast into bite size pieces. Season this chicken to taste with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. (I like the Pepper Supreme from World Market.)
Heat a small amount of Olive or Grapeseed oil in a large skillet or wok, and then add your chicken. Sautee the chicken on medium-high heat until it is cooked through. This took me about 5-7 minutes in my trusty wok.
This sauce is very easy to make, even though it's full of rich, complex flavors. The secret is in the cooking method. In this dish, like in many Indian dishes, you want to "toast" the spices before making them into a sauce.
First, you're going to want to add about a teaspoon of olive or grapeseed oil to your saucepan. Next, add the shallots, butter, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, onion powder, Garam Masala, Tandoori Masala, Chili Powder, Bay Leaf, Cardamom pods if you are using them, and a dash of Cayenne pepper. (Yes, I promise this is not going to be overly spicy!)
Once these spices have simmered and gotten to know each other more intimately, it's time to make the sauce. Add your tomato puree to the pan, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes. Now you want to add a 13.5 oz can of Coconut Milk. Let this mixture come to a boil, stirring frequently.
But wait! We're not done yet! Here's where the magic starts. Once your mixture is well-combined and simmering away, it's time to add some fresh, plain yogurt and a small dash of heavy cream. These, along with the coconut milk, help to tame the heat of these traditional Indian spices. You can technically add the yogurt and cream when composing the sauce, but I like to add these right to the chicken mixture shortly before serving. This helps to keep them from curdling.
Okay, so now that our Indian Butter Chicken is just about ready, it's time to make some sides. Thankfully, World Market had exactly what I needed to complement my chicken! I picked up some Naan Bread, as well as some Tandoori Rice and Spinach Dal. These sides are basically ready to eat. All you need to do is heat them up in the microwave!
Brandy's Indian Butter Chicken :
- 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 2 Tablespoons oil, divided. (I like Olive or Grapeseed Oil.)
- 1 teaspoon World Market Diced Shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (Can use 1/4 cup fresh, minced onion.)
- 2 Tablespoons Butter (REAL butter is best!)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Ginger
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
- 2 teaspoons Tandoori Masala
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground Cardamom Pods (Optional. My kids don't care for this, so I left it out.)
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Cup Mutti Tomato Puree
- 13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
- 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
- Dash of Heavy Cream, maybe 2 tablespoons worth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil on med-high heat in a large, deep pan or wok
- Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper
- Add chicken to pan and saute until cooked through. (About 5-7 min)
- Remove chicken from heat.
- In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Add shallots, butter, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, onion powder, Garam Masala, Tandoori Masala, Chili Powder, Bay Leaf, Cardamom, and a dash of Cayenne pepper. Stir WELL, as you want these spices to marry together.
- Once your spices are nice and fragrant, add the tomato puree, and stir frequently for a minute or two.
- Add a 13.5 oz can of Coconut Milk. Let this mixture come to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Place chicken back onto medium heat, and add the sauce to the chicken.
- Let mixture simmer for a while, allowing the liquid to reduce. If you're short on time, a simple cornstarch slurry will speed things up quite nicely.
- Once your sauce is nice and thick, add a dash of heavy cream and your plain yogurt. Stir well, making sure to incorporate these ingredients throughout the dish. Heat well, but be sure to stir, stir, stir, as you don't want your yogurt and cream to curdle!
- Serve chicken over a bed of Tandoori Rice. Or you can use egg noodles, mashed potatoes, etc...Tandoori Rice is definitely more traditionally Indian, though!
- Side suggestions: Naan Bread, Spinach Dal
To help celebrate the release of "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", World Market will be sending one lucky winner and their guest to beautiful India! The grand prize winner will also receive free movies for a WHOLE YEAR, and a $1,000 World Market Gift Card!
Plus, Three (3) First Prize Winners will each receive a $500 World Market Gift Card!
How cool is that?!
And remember, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is in theaters NOW!
**This sweepstakes is open to US residents, 18+ and ends on March 27, 2015. **
Have you ever tried Indian food? What was your favorite dish?