My husband, Russ, is heading to India soon. This will be his second trip, and we’ve been looking forward to being able to send him off again. Last time he fell in love with the people, the culture and the food.
His friend, Ravi, was born and raised in southern India. Ravi helps arrange the trips to visit villages and help establish education opportunities for their children. Russ helps train pastors to teach in their own churches. All the while, they eat authentic food, mostly cooked by Ravi’s family.
Anyone who knows my husband’s palate will agree that he loves spicy food. Although there are plenty of Indian dishes that are mild enough, the mix of spices is decidedly different from anything in Western society.
When he leaves, he’ll carry with him a shopping list that includes the spices I’ve been using frequently since his return in 2011. He’ll also pick up some kitchen utensils as well, since a few he brought back three years ago are well-worn.
It’s important to remember that all Indian food isn’t the same. Visiting the Southern U.S., you might be treated to local hospitality that differs from that of the Pacific Northwest. The Northeast has its own traditional fare as well.
When our friends from southern India cook for us, the meal is what they would eat back home. I’ve tried to mimic their cooking and have even had a lesson or two. Still, my go-to dish is from the north of India.
I started making Butter Chicken a year or so ago. The original recipe I used takes several steps, but I’ve learned to cut it down to save cleaning. Also, I’m not good at waiting when I’m hungry. I’ve also opted to use coconut cream instead of milk and cut the butter in half.
I should note that the cayenne pepper I use is 100,000 SKU, which makes it pretty hot. You will want to adjust the cayenne for your own heat tolerance. We serve our curries with a side of plain Greek yogurt to tame the heat.
Make this recipe to your taste and make it your own.
Jemelene Wilson of Roseburg is married, has two daughters and is a substitute instructional assistant for the Roseburg School District. She is one of several bloggers who contributes to Douglas County Moms on The News-Review’s website, nrtoday.com.