The Shopper Kitchen: Savor the flavors of India

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By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen
Last fall, I read an article in Milk Street Magazine in which Christopher Kimball wrote about a visit to Hanoi. There, he enjoyed foods like lemon grass with clams, grilled foods like eggs in the shell and sweet potato, and coffee served with condensed milk and raw egg. “The realization dawned slowly,” he said. “There is no ‘ethnic’ cooking. It’s a myth. It’s just dinner or lunch served somewhere else in the world.”
I’ve since learned there is great debate among foodies about his there-is-no-ethnic-cooking comment, but it gave me something to think about. If I visit, say, China one day and come across a roadside stand selling tomato sandwiches on white bread, or a box of fried chicken and cornbread, will they call those “ethnic” foods from the US?
Whether it’s truly “ethnic” or not, food from other countries is fun to enjoy and helps make the world a smaller place. It’s also quite delicious!

My friend Ginger Cato in North Carolina, whom I met online many years ago through our mutual love of tea, learned that I like Indian food and shared what has become my all-time favorite slow cooker recipe, this Indian Butter Chicken. Whenever I raid my spice cabinet for all these beautiful and aromatic spices, I wonder whether the dish is as beloved back home in India as I find it here.
I’ve never met a curry dish I didn’t like, and the curry and cardamom in this recipe make it quite the favorite at my house. In fact, I’ve even made it something of a challenge to try the Indian Butter Chicken every time I visit an Indian restaurant in another city. So far I’ve had it in Peachtree City, Suwanee, Nashville, Indianapolis, and London. I’ve enjoyed them all, but I’ve yet to try a version that I like any better than the slow cooker recipe from my friend Ginger, who graciously gave me permission to share it with you here.
Indian Butter Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (I’ve used fresh as well as frozen)

1 small onion, sliced

6 garlic cloves, chopped

3 teaspoons cardamom

2 teaspoons curry

1-1/4 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
 tablespoons butter

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 can coconut milk (light is okay)

1 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free Greek yogurt)
Place chicken in five-quart slow cooker and add onion, garlic, and spices. Add the butter and tomato paste, then add lemon juice and coconut milk. Place cover on slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Fifteen minutes before serving, add yogurt. Chicken will be very tender and can be shredded easily with a fork. Serve over rice with wedges of naan, a flatbread, on the side. Yields 8-10 servings.

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