Glad it worked out for you! And, yeah, adding the cream cheese just occurred to me one day and I have never looked back. It's also fun to use flavoured cream cheeses sometimes (like the chive and onion one, for example).
Okay, here's another super-easy beginner recipe:
Butter chicken (the white man's curry):
- Two chicken breasts
- About 4 tbsp of natural yogurt (the lower the fat, the better)
- Some milk (how much depends on you -- see the recipe for details)
- Tomato additive of your choice! You can use a can of pureed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, or even a can of Campbell's tomato soup. It all depends on how thick/chunky/creamy you want your sauce to be. The most saucey is made by the soup, so you can start from there and experiment if you're not sure.
- An onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- A knob of ginger about the size of your thumb.
- 2 red chillies
- Cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and paprika (all of which should be available in the foreign foods aisle for at least half the price as the McCormick variety in the baking aisle)
- Basmati rice (about half a cup's worth per serving)
- optional: 2 tsp of almond extract. Adds a little something but isn't necessary for those with nut allergies.
- optional: a side of naan bread or papadum; naan bread should be available in any good grocery store - usually around the pita varieties. Papadum should be available in the foreign food aisle; they come in a slim pack and require a bit of preparation, but most of the time you can microwave them.
- optional: a cup of natural yogurt, a cucumber and some lemon juice.
Cut your chicken into bite-sized strips; finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger.
OPTIONAL: you can marinade your chicken before hand (preferably for a few hours) by tossing them in a zip-lock bag with the onion, garlic, and ginger, as well as a few glugs of olive oil and about a the optional almond extract.
OPTIONAL: If you bought naan, spread some butter on a slice and sprinkle with garlic powder. Wrap in tin foil, shiny-side in, and plop in the oven at 400 F until ready to eat.
Get your basmati rice going, either in a rice cooker or in the microwave, or the stove, I guess, if you're one of those. If you don't know how to cook rice, read the instructions on the bag. Make sure to add a glug of olive oil and 2 tsp of turmeric to the rice when you start cooking.
In a large pan, heat a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil and the optional almond extract (if you didn't add it to the marinade). Add chicken chunks to the pan; add finely-chopped: onions, garlic, and ginger (peel the ginger first, obviously) When the chicken is cooked all the way through, add chopped red chillies; season with about 2 tsp of cumin, 2 tsp of garam masala, and 2 tsp of paprika. Stir until coated evenly.
At this point, you want to add your tomato additive. I recommend beginning with the soup if you're really not sure. If you do use the soup, be sure to mix in some milk to thin it out before adding it to the pan. Use the whole can, and as much milk as you think is right; keep an eye on the consistency and keep in mind that the heat will reduce it somewhat. If you're using any other sort of tomato additive, make it creamier by stirring in dollops of natural yogurt. As above, it's really your call how much you use; just stir in spoonful at a time until it looks like your cup of tea.
Once you've added your tomato whatever, heat to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 7 minutes. At this point, taste your sauce and make sure you don't need any more spices. Cumin will make it muskier, garam masala a bit sweet, and paprika a bit woody. Feel free to add cayenne pepper or curry powder if you feel it needs more heat, and salt and pepper. It's also not too late to add milk or yogurt to adjust the consistency of the sauce, but be sure to stir it in completely.
Serve over rice and naan bread.
To make raita, simply combine about a cup of natural yogurt with half a shredded cucumber and a tsp of lemon juice. Stir, and add to the side of any curry to cut the heat.
That's like the easiest curry recipe I know, so hopefully someone can make use of it. If you want, I can post something a bit more advanced next time.
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