Thursday, 8 September 2011

Creamy Butter Chicken Curry and Tangy Chucumber Salad

Since I was feeling a bit off this morning, I started feeling something spicy. A while ago I came across a lovely food blog called The Traveller's Lunchbox. Recently the author Melissa Kronenthal wrote about Sanjeev Kapor's book How to Cook Indian and his Butter Chicken recipe. Butter Chicken is one of my favourite curries and I have been making it with my own recipe for years now. Not sure about the authenticity of the recipe, but it is always very delicious. It is actually one of the first dishes I cooked for the Boyfriend...

Butter Chicken is always a crowd pleaser with its creamy texture and spicyness. I tend to serve it with a side salad of cucumber, red onion, dry roasted cashew nuts, coriander and lime. It is from my mother's Indian cook book and goes by the name Chucumber in the book.


500 g chicken breast or thighs, diced

For the marinade:
4 tbsp groundnut oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 in bit of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
a few pinches of sea salt

For the curry:
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder or 1 fresh red or green chili, chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 in bit of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp ground almond
200 ml passata (sieved tomatoes)
100 ml single cream
100 ml Greek yoghurt
juice of half a lemon

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and add the chicken. Leave to marinade for 15 minutes. Fry the chicken until browned. Set aside. In the butter soften the onions with the spices until aromatic. Add the ground almond, tomato puree and sugar. Stir until caramilized and forms a paste. Add the passata and let simmer for a few minutes. Taste the sauce and add more chilli powder if not spicy enough. Add the chicken. Stir in the single cream and yoghurt. Let the curry simmer for 10 minutes and add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve with steamed rice, naan bread and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.


1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
50 g cashew nuts
1 tbsp groundnut oil
juice of a lime
1/2 fresh chili, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Dry roast the cashew nuts, either in the oven or in a dry frying pan. Let the cashew nuts cool down. Chop the red onion, cucumber and chili. Mix in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and salt to taste.

Once you master the secrets of making a good curry, you can forget about take aways for good. Unless you're feeling lazy...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

From Gaijin to Amicus Apple

My last week in Helsinki was all but relaxed. I still managed to see everyone, pack my stuff and have a fancy meal with my family before returning to Aberdeen. I had been wanting to go to this new North Asian cross kitchen restaurant Gaijin on Bulevardi in Helsinki.

For starter I had a Mussel with Soya Mirin Dressing, Gari Ginger and Fish Roe and a Pork and Prawn Dim Sum. Everything was presented in such a lovely way and was very delicious, especially the dim sum that was served with two different dressings and fish roe to finish.

For mains we ordered a few dishes for everyone to share. We had Yakitori Chicken Skewers, which were without a doubt the tastiest bit of the dinner.

The Beef Tataki with Sesame Dressing was also very good. Something I definitely need to try at home is Steamed Kai-Lan Cabbage with a Cold Sesame Dressing, which was actually very similar to the sesame salad dressing I have been making. We also had scallops with a curious chimichurri like dressing and dried tuna flakes, wasn't the biggest fan of that.

We finished off the meal with some umeshu - Japanese plum liquor. All together it was a good experience, although for the price level you would that they would go the extra mile for everything.

When getting back to Aberdeen, me and the Boyfriend went to try Amicus Apple - a cocktail restaurant on Langstane Place. I must admit that I am not a big fan cocktails so I never even had one, we were concentrating for the food. We had Beer Battered Prawns with Sweet Chilli Sauce and Salt and Pepper Squid with Chilli and Cucumber Dip. For mains we both had Fillet Steak Medallions. The Boyfriend had Chunky Chips and Peppercorn Sauce with his, while I had Root Vegetable Dauphinoise, Baby Leeks and Mushroom Jus. The steaks were cooked to perfection, but the sides were a bit too average. The price level is just perfect since all the mains are less than £16. Will definitely visit again for some Friday night drinks and dinner.