Sunday, 8 January 2012

BBC Good Food: Chicken Bhuna

The conversation went a little bit like this.

"So how was it for you dear?"

"It tastes different.  They've changed the recipe, haven't they?"

"Something like that.  Did you like it?"

"It was palatable but not as good as usual.  Too many onions."

"It's probably a different recipe then.  I know you don't like change."

"I thought Wife made her own curry sauce anyway."

"I did.  But you obviously don't like it.  You just said so."

This point went straight over his head as FC Real Inter Barcelona or whoever was playing football on Sky Sports scored a goal and the husband's attention was lost for the rest of the evening.

Those of you who are regular followers of my blog (I'm very grateful that people take the time to read my ramblings) will know that I've been working on improving the Sunday night curry.  We've introduced Mary Berry's Chicken Tikka, Dan Lepard's Frying Pan Naan, Mango and Apple Chutney and I've finally found a home made Saag Aloo recipe that I like - although the husband didn't like it

The next thing I wanted to tackle was his dependence on Loyd Grossman's Bhuna sauce.  Several years ago, it was Sharwoods Bhuna sauce or nothing.  Then Sharwoods went and changed the recipe and made it too spicy for my husband's delicate palate.  After a lot of searching, I managed to wean him on to Grosman's version.  This too has changed in the past.  We then have a few sulky mealtimes before he announces he won't have it again because it's tasteless or too spicy.  I stop cooking it for a couple of months and then he asks why I've not cooked it since.

I still can't find my copy of The Curry Secret which I bought years ago, specifically to try the Bhuna recipe in that but never got round to it as it required me to first make a vat of generic curry sauce (using about 3kg of onions) which then forms the basis of any other curry you could care to make.  Having looked at lots of other equally faffy recipes, I happened across one on Good Food the other day from Olive Magazine that was really simple, low in fat at just 240 cals per serving (without rice) and only took 40 mins from start to finish.

That sounded like just the recipe as I've noted that the amount of time and effort it takes me to cook something seems to directly correlate with how much my husband is going to not like it.  It also had good reviews and one woman mentioned that her picky husband liked it so much they'd eaten it two times in a week.  Sold.

As always, I cooked half the recipe.  The spices were easy to halve as it's 2 tsp of this and 2 tsp of that.  I really must remember though to measure out my spices before I start cooking as it would make it so much less stressful trying to juggle the recipe, the jar, the spoon and a pan of about-to-burn spices.  After the initial taste test, I felt the ginger flavour didn't come through enough so added a bit more in and also added some Garden Gourmet 'fresh' coriander to get the little herby flecks in it so I could try and pass it off as a shop-bought sauce to get the husband's honest opinion.

Chicken Bhuna and Basmati Rice
I quite liked it.  It's still not in the same class as a really good Bhuna from a really good curry house but in my opinion it tasted better because I knew it was home cooked rather than having been cooked in some vast factory before sitting in an Ocado warehouse for months on end.  I'll be interested if I get a better opinion out of the husband if he ever reads this blog.  But I doubt he'll read his Twitter feed tonight as "it's a good night tonight, there's football on until 1am".  At least I can have a few hours of starfishing in bed before he comes and steals all the covers and wakes me with his snoring!

Back to work tomorrow.  Blogs will become much briefer until next weekend.

Recipe - Serves 4

  • sunflower oil
  • 2 medium onions , halved and finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  • 25g ginger , peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies , finely chopped (take out the seeds if you like)
  • 2 heaped tsp cardamom pods , seeds crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts , cut into pieces
  • 400 tin chopped tomatoes

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large non-stick frying pan and cook the onion until soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for 2 minutes more. Sprinkle the spices over and fry for a minute.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice and chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the tomatoes into the pan, add 150ml water, a pinch of salt and sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

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