The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.
I have always wanted to make a nut butter of some sort, weather it be peanut butter or almond or cashew. So you can understand my bit of excitment when I saw we were doing just that for this month's Daring Cook's Challenge!
We had the choice of a few different nut butters to make along with different recipes, and after looking at what we had to work with I choose the Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce for the challenge (I had all the ingredients in the kitchen :D). I do however plan to try all the other recipes that were suggested, as I wanted a chance to taste them all!
Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe notes: Substitute the protein of your choice for the chicken. This is a smooth sauce, so the onion is removed before serving. If you prefer, dice the onion and leave it in the sauce or substitute a bit of onion powder.
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
4 (6 oz / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt to taste
1.5 tablespoons (20 ml) garam masala seasoning
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce/425 g) can tomato sauce
⅓ cup (80 ml) almond butter
⅓ cup (80 ml) milk
½ to ¾ cup (120 to 180 ml) chicken broth or water, more as needed
1 cup (240 ml) frozen peas (optional)
Hot basmati rice for serving
Chopped parsley (optional garnish)
Sliced almonds (optional garnish)
- Cook the chicken. If desired, pound chicken to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside on clean plate and keep warm.
- Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.
- Remove onion from sauce and discard. Stir frozen peas (if using) into sauce. Transfer sliced chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas and chicken are heated through.
- Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or sliced almonds if desired
The recipe above are straight from The Daring Kitchen post for this month's challenge. If you would like to check out what the others have done and the recipes please go to The Daring Kitchen website!
I didn't change much in this recipe except the basmati rice (I used brown rice), the garam masala spice, and I made my own tomato sauce. The nuts were really easy to blend into a butter. Just put about 1 cup of almonds (to make a half cup butter) in a food processor and pulse until broken up and powdery. Almonds are fairly dry, so add a couple of tablespoons of oil to them to make a smooth almond butter.
The garam masala seasoning wasn't something I could find, so I had to make my own. I looked up a recipe and found one that I could do with the spices I had on hand. Thanks to Chow and the awesome people on the forums over there for sharing recipes and links :)! I found the recipe I used at India Snacks. This recipe doesn't include cardamom, which almost everyone on that thread said was necessary for garam masala, but I didn't have it on hand.
As for the tomato sauce? For that I used canned diced tomatoes, blended in the food processor (only because the hubby can't abide chunky anything just about) and allowed to simmer with the rest of the ingredients for about 45 minutes.
The flavor turned out great! I loved the very slight sweet taste from the tomatoes and the flavor and texture of the almonds. This wasn't spicy as most curries I've had but had wonderful flavor. I'll definitely make this again as it was also a hit with the hubby, even though he said it was a new taste to him.