Friday, December 9, 2016

Spicy Beef Curry for Foodie Reads 2016 #Sponsor

This is a post is sponsored by the author Monica Bhide.* All opinions are my own.

I received an email from Monica Bhide, asking if I would be interested in receiving her novel - Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken** - for review purposes. Given that the title included the words 'butter chicken', you know I was in. Immediately.


After years of enjoying her version, I finally wrangled my friend Priya's Butter Chicken recipe out of her; you can read about that: here. Suffice it to say: We are huge fans of butter chicken!

On the Page

I had high hopes for this book. It's about a cuisine that we love...and the idea behind the story seemed fantastic: Eshaan wants to open a free kitchen to feed the poor in Delhi so that no one ever goes hungry. In one passage, they are discussing the biggest problem in India...that's it's not hunger.

Not hunger. Lack. Lack is the problem. You know the saying, "There is one pomegranate, and hundred people who want it."

While it is well written, I had a hard time connecting with the characters at first. Eshaan seems to be cursed with a horrible sense about business and finance and about women. And Kitt's entire story line seemed contrived. I had a difficult time liking her character and the decisions that she makes. But, as I continued reading, the characters grew on me.

What I did love, immediately, were the descriptions of the food, the cooking, and the connection between the cook and the resulting dish.

...I say a prayer for the spices, sparse as they may be, to help heal the person who eats the food. That reminds me. I have only one rule in this kitchen. The cooks' energy gets passed into the dishes. Only food prepared with love will nurture. If not, it will just be another meal," he said, placing his hand on his heart.

And now I am longing for a sil batta! I wonder where I can find one here.

The cooking show staff had instructed him to bring his favorite utensil, and he had chosen his treasured sil batta. "Possibly the parent idea of the modern day mortar and pestle," Lama Dorje had remarked when he presented the gift to him. Eshaan had smiled at the comparison; he loved his tiny mortar and pestle for his spices. But his sil batta, flat marble stone with a long bat-like stone for grinding, was perfect for making all the pastes and chutneys he so loved creating. 

Overall, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken was a decent read with great food inspiration.

On the Plate

The novel comes with a free e-cookbook that features some wonderful Indian recipes, including, of course, Monica's butter chicken and a cardamom tea that is intriguing. But, for this post, I opted to create a different dish altogether.

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs beef, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cut into 2 T chunks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced (approximately 1-1/2 C)
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3” stick cinnamon
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 1 T chili paste (optional)
  • 1 C organic heavy cream
  • naan for serving
Procedure
In a large mixing bowl, massage the salt, pepper, 1 t chili powder, and turmeric into the beef cubes. Let stand for 15 minutes.

In a large, flat-bottom pan, cook the onions, ginger, and garlic in 3 T butter until softened and the onions begin to turn translucent. Add in the remaining butter and melt. Stir in the garam masala, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick. Cook until fragrant.

Add the beef to the spiced paste and brown until cooked through, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce and chicken stock. Add in the chili paste, if using; we like our butter chicken a little bit spicy. Whisk to combine. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes - until the sauce is beginning to thicken. Pour in the cream, whisk to combine, and simmer until that it thickened to your liking.

Serve garnished with warmed naan bread. Enjoy!

*Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary copy of Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken for the purpose of reviewing it. Opinions are my own. I received no further compensation for this post.

**This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

3 comments:

  1. This book sounds really interesting to me. I like the idea of setting a story in a free kitchen for the poor of India.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was interesting! Let me know if you read it!

      Delete
  2. I liked the book a lot. I couldn't get it to download so I ended up purchasing it. My post will be going up later this week.

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