What is a Balaboosta?
Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess. She does it all and does it well.
I make simple food with easy recipes and I like to try new things. My family and friends love my cooking and always ask me to share, with them, what I know about food, flavor, and technique.

I'm not a professional chef and I've had no formal culinary training. What I know and do in the kitchen comes from three women...Nana, Grandma Della, and Rose, my mom. Each one of them knew more about putting a meal on the table than any fancy chef in a white hat. They were the ultimate Balaboostas.

What I offer you is a lifetime of experience in the kitchen with my compliments and theirs. I hope they'd be proud. I will bring you my recipes as I make them with photos of the actual food I'm preparing. I'm no professional photographer either but I promise, my food will speak for itself in every picture.

The food on my table isn't stacked in a trendy tower.
Instead, my food is stacked with flavor and full of my passion for cooking. So please come in, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy.

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Disclaimer: While most of my recipes are "Jewish Style", I do sometimes cook with pork. This might have been a great disappointment to some but my grandmothers knew that I live in modern world. I light Shabbos candles religiously but I have to admit...I do not keep a Kosher home.

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Better Butter Chicken


My favorite Indian restaurant in Toronto is called, The Banjara. That's where I ate the classic Butter Chicken for the first time, many years ago. It was the kind of flavor I couldn't wait to go back and have again and again. That inspired me to create my own version, at home, so I could enjoy it more often.

Typically, Butter Chicken is served with white rice and Naan bread. Since making a significant lifestyle change 3 years ago I now leave out rice and bread from my meals. Instead, I add vegetables which transforms it into a health conscious and hearty, one dish meal that I call "Better Butter Chicken".

Classic "Butter Chicken" flavor comes from a combination of seasonings.
Hint: If you're looking to save a little time or if you don't have all these things on hand then you might consider using a store bought flavor starter sauce which you can buy in any grocery. I will tell you both methods.

Today I used two teaspoons of a starter sauce by Patak's for the underlying base flavor in this recipe. Using the flavor starter takes the place of 6 other ingredients. Why not save yourself a little time?

Ingredients...

  • 2 Chicken breasts cut in chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons of a good oil (good oils are: peanut, extra virgin olive, canola, or flaxseed)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (or your healthy alternate preference)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 minced or pressed garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (any type)
  • 1 cup cauliflower cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup julienned (think cut shreds) baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup Tablespoons table cream (optional)
  • 1/4 cup condensed cream of tomato soup
  • 1/3 cup skimmed milk
  • 2 Teaspoons concentrated Patak's Butter Chicken sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Here's how you do it...
  1. Heat the frying pan over medium
  2. Add the cut up chicken breasts and stir occasionally cooking until the chicken starts to brown on all sides.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same frying pan add the 2 tablespoons of oil and butter (or alternative)
  5. Add the onions and stir cooking for 4 minutes
  6. Add the garlic and stir cooking for another 2 minutes
  7. Add the mushrooms and cauliflower, turn heat to low and cover for 5 minutes
  8. Add Salt & Pepper to taste (approximately 1/2 teaspoon of each)
  9. Stir and continue cooking, covered, for another 3 minutes
  10. Uncover and add 2 Teaspoons of Patak's concentrated Butter Chicken Sauce
  11. Add 1/4 cup condensed Cream of Tomato Soup
  12. Add 1/3 cup skimmed milk
  13. Add 1/4 cup table cream
  14. Add the semi-cooked chicken you had set aside
  15. Uncovered, bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce to low and allow to simmer 5 minutes
  16. Add and stir in the julienned baby spinach leaves, continue simmering another 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust the Salt & Pepper if necessary.

ALTERNATIVE: If you want to add the spices yourself then do not use the concentrated Patak's Butter Chicken sauce and instead...
  • 1 Teaspoon minced Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1 8 oz can of whole peeled Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Plain Non-Fat Yogurt
If you must serve with a side of rice consider choosing brown rice instead of white as a healthier option.

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