Metal Recipes: Curryptopsy
And then you’ll beg (for more).
Last time we did food dorkery it was spice blends… I think. Memory like a freaking sieve here. Today let’s get back to an actual dish, one that’s stupidly easy and cheap BUT is fancy enough to serve to guests. If you live in an apartment building, you’ll have the added benefit of torturing your neighbors – in a friendly or unfriendly manner, depending on your circumstances – with the glorious aroma. An aroma that, by virtue of the recipe being for the slow cooker, will be going on all day. All. Damn. Day.
I’m talking, of course, about curry. Everyone loves curry. Those who don’t are Jeff Sessions, because he don’t hold with foreigner food. Or He Who Likes His Steak Well Done and With Ketchup, An Impeachable Offense. There is almost nothing to dislike about curries: they’re healthy, infinitely malleable, a great vessel for creativity, intensely satisfying, and run the gamut from beginner to expert level. “Curry” itself translates more or less to “gravy,” so to clarify, today we’re dealing with Indian curry. Or more like Indo-British curry, since the latter invented this one. This is how you do butter chicken, that perennial restaurant favorite.
I should note that this is not Lord Worm approved. Nor Flo nor any other member (and for the record, Matt is a perfectly good vocalist). It’s just that Cryptopsy is pretty great and their name fit well.
Disclaimers: as said before, you need a slow cooker for this. You also need time, because while you only have to actively do something for about 15 minutes of this, you can’t rush this. You can do it on a weeknight but it’s easiest on a weekend. Start it Saturday night, have a nice Sunday dinner. And in case you haven’t had it and the name isn’t an indication, this is not for those on a low-fat diet. It’s not county fair or baseball park-level fatty, but if you’re unfortunate enough to be avoiding butter, well… shit, I feel quite bad for you
But in all seriousness, this is so stupidly easy you really do need it in your arsenal. If you’re vegetarian, you know what to do to make it acceptable to your herbivorous palate.
Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
Total Time: 18-24 hours
Active Time: a very short death metal album, a full grind album, one-quarter to one-third of a black metal album, and let’s not even both speculating with post-metal
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2” fresh ginger, minced
- 1 medium-size fresh chile of choice, minced
- 2 – 2.5 lbs skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 – 1.5” pieces
- 2 (14 oz apiece) cans tomatoes*
- ¼ c heavy cream
- 1 c yogurt (regular or Greek, good either way)
- 2 T lemon or lime juice
- 4 t kosher salt
- 3 t cumin
- 2 t coriander
- 1 t cayenne (yes, really. Trust me)
- 3.5 t paprika**
- 2 t turmeric
- ⅛ t cinnamon
- ⅛ t chile powder
- 2 t fenugreek leaves (optional; they’re generally only available in dedicated spice shops)
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 1.5 t garam masala
- 2.5 T butter
- Generous pinch of brown sugar
- Fresh cilantro (for garnish)
- Sliced lime (for garnish)
- Sesame seeds (for garnish)
*You can choose whichever style you like- puree, diced, whole, crushed. I generally go with one of puree and one of crushed.
**Regular paprika, please and thank you, NOT the smoked Spanish variety. The latter is awesome, just not for this.
PHASE 1 (previous night):
- Mix yogurt, lemon juice, 4 t salt, 1 t each of cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and 1/2 t of the cayenne together in bowl.
- Score each piece of chicken 2-3 times, then combine with marinade in a large resealable plastic bag (gallon size). Marinate 2-10 hours in fridge.
- Mix onion and 1 T butter/oil and add to slow cooker. Cook for 8-10 hours on Low (this is the easy and just-as-good way to caramelize onions, FYI).
- Prep ginger, garlic, and chile. Mix together and store in fridge.
- Reset slow cooker to High. Remove cover and cook onion 1 hour more, stirring occasionally (not more than once every 10 minutes or so).
- Remove chicken from marinade and add to slow cooker, along with the rest of the butter, and all other base ingredients except garam masala, cream, and fenugreek.
- Mix contents of slow cooker together, cover, and cook for 7-8 hours on Low, or 4-5 hours on High.
- When slow cooker cycle finishes, taste and adjust salt. Add garam masala, fenugreek leaves, and cream, stir gently, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Serve with basmati rice, garnishes, and sides of choice (naan and Israeli salad are hard to beat).
- Eat. EAT.
- For truly good, worth-eating rice, do the following. Cook it with a little coconut oil or butter. Once it’s cooked, stir in a small pinch of cardamom, a small pinch of salt, and some frozen peas (about ½ c peas per 2 c cooked rice), then cover and let it sit 10-15 minutes. You’re welcome.
- Do not swap out the cream for yogurt, as the latter is too tart. You need the tartness of the yogurt for the marinade (the acid tenderizes the meat) and that’s it.
- Regular butter is fine, ghee isn’t necessary.
- If using store bought garam masala, you may need more; mine was a freshly made batch and thus stronger.
- Chicken thighs are necessary; breasts may dry out.
- For even more richness or to save money, use bone-in thighs and remove the bones before serving.
- I doubt the heat level as is should be a problem for anyone; if you’re paranoid, you can swap out the cayenne for paprika or (fair warning: the following is speculation, untested) a pinch of cocoa or cacao powder.
- If you want more heat, I suggest adding another chile rather than any more powdered spices. An Ancho or Guajillo, or any dried chile really, added during either low cycle, would work well.
- This dish is somewhat differentiated from traditional murgh makhani. Differences include heavier use of turmeric in marinade; hence, the coloring is more orange, and the turmeric lends a slightly woodier, more earthy undertone. The heavier use of paprika is reminiscent of rogan josh, which is AWESOME, one of the best Indian dishes out there, but harder to make well.
- The sauce will thicken upon refrigeration. If you like, add 1/4 c water before refrigerating or before reheating.
- And on that note, try and make sure you have leftovers. Good as it is fresh, curry is one of those dishes (like pizza; fight me) that is often better the next day. In this particular case it’s because the spices have even longer to bloom.