Monday 12 January 2009

Butter Chicken

It's that time of year again... the two weeks when Furry and I have most of the kids for our annual holiday at the beach. This year we have all 5 visiting sporadically and a few extra hangers on, given that they girls are now old enough to have "boyfriends".

I have been thwarting all of Furry's attempts to buy a pickled penis. He wants to display one prominently.. on a wall.. or the mantelpiece... and nonchalantly refer to it as "What was left over after the last boy broke my daughter's heart"

What this all means is that I have no idea who and what will be available for dinner.

And the weather here in Melbourne is crap. Seriously. Crap. It's the middle of Summer and we've barely seen a day over 23C, and it's as overcast as all get out.

So we've been eating a lot of curries and stir fries. Things that can get frozen, or eaten then next day for lunch, if any of the kids get a better offer..... or can be eeked out with rice, if assorted, random friends-of-friends drop in.

In Melbourne, I have an extensive range of herbs and spices. I can whip up almost anything from a Makhani to a Vindaloo, from scratch.

At Dromana, not so much. We're only there a couple of day's a fortnight and we usually eat out, or light the pizza oven, if we're having friends, so my range of herbs and spices is pretty limited by what can be garnered at the Dromana IGA.. which is to say, not much.

For so many, being on holidays means eating out or "dumbing down" your food. Who's going to buy a block of belachan or a bottle of fish sauce just for one night's dinner? So people often resort to either a) the bare basics of mince and a bottled pasta sauce, or b) buying flavour sachet mixes to tart things up. And even food obsessives like myself sometimes would rather spend our holidays reading a dodgy novel than hand grinding curry spices.

Enter the Saucy Spice Company. I have written about them before, when I found them up at Merimbula, and while my hatred of pre-fab foods is legendary, these guys, and their products are VASTLY different from a Maggi cook-in-the-pot mix.

Butter Chicken is a staple in our house. It's quick and easy and everyone in our house likes it. And when you consider we've got 5 kids.. that in itself is a rarity.

My normal recipe is a cinch when you've got a well-stocked pantry. But here's when The Saucy Spice mixes come into their own. They are all pre-mixed and weighed, in a convenient sealed sachet. I took a bout of about 10 of them away to Chez Fur, which means we can have dishes as varied as Butter Chicken to Seafood Laksa without buying 37 different sachets of herbs. SS co don't add any nasty anti-clumping agents, or fillers, so what you are getting is the real McCoy. For their Butter chicken mix, you even get a separate sachet of fenugreek leaves!!!

The end result is as complex and rich as a Mahkani cooked "from scratch". I used yoghurt instead of cream, as I am currently competing for the "Fatest middle aged woman in Australia" title, having put on nearly 9kgs since giving up the fags.

I am too scared to go to the beach in togs this year, in case someone mistakenly calls Green Peace, or wants to wrap me in hessian and tries to keep my blowhole clear. I am reduced to furtively sneaking around the back yard in my sarong and bra, pretending to garden, in the hope of tanning, all the while listening for cries of "Mein EYES!!! Mein EYES!!!" from over the neighbours' fence. And while it's not trendy to tan, I am working on the premise that black is a slimming colour, so the darker my thighs are, the smaller they will look.

But I digress.... Get yourself online and grab a few of the Saucy Spice Company's fetching little sachets, support a wonderful Aussie business and dispel the myth that being on holiday means you have to dumb your food down, or rely on nasty Maggi cheesey potato bake sachets. And while ANY flavour sachet will never match fresh herbs, the Saucy Spice guys come pretty bloody close. 'Cause on my holidays, sometimes it IS all about convenience.


stickyfingers said...

....and no need for the dreaded Can.Of.Tomato.Soup....Unlike the butter chicken available in a few restaurants and many bain maries....uuurgh!

Griffin said...

I am definitely with Furry on the pickled penis - ideally a very small one too!

Well, you could do a chicken pilau instead and that is very filling.

Ok, maybe you're a teensy bit bigger without the fags, but you're much healthier.

More veggies, cut down on potatoes and such and exercise. You'll soon loose the tiny bits of fat on you.

Of course those could be kittens in your clothes coming along for the ride instead of fat... what? It could happen!

Anonymous said...

The penis thing is a genius idea! Where exactly would one obtain a pickled penis, though?

Anna said...

Ooh that butter chicken had me drooling.

And my dad wanted to get a pickled penis too, when I was a younger lass.

Cooking_Is_Fun said...

Firstly, as a fellow 5 teenage kids parent..... ARGH!!! Butter Chicken is a superstar!!!.....

I am going to airport today to pick up the last of our crew, plus 2 mates tagging on from QLD to make a house full of teenage boys for a week----- 5 to be precise from 15 - 18!!!! and that is if no Melbourne Mates drop in along the way.

Perhaps I should just drop by urs and leave my boys to entertain ur girls??? lol

So, I am putting a padlock on the pantry and heading to the stores to spend our life savings to feed them all..... so butter chicken may just make the menu this week.....

And, by the way, they are all asking me the same question......... where is the summer????


Beer Blokes said...

The secret to holiday gourmet-edness is either (a) going to the Heathmont farmer's market the weekend before heading off or (b) holidaying at Phillip Island and going to the Churchill Island farmer's market the day after you get there or (c) both, that's what we did.

If the above are not possible, then butter chook is a good 'un!

Prof. Pilsner

Anonymous said...
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Bluenose said...

Martin, it may come as a surprise to you, but spam is not one of the basic food groups.

purple goddess said...

Unless you live in Hawaii, Bluey, and then, apparently, it is.

purple goddess said...


Apparently you can get pickled penis from certain medical suppliers.. if you are a teaching/lecturing medical professional.

My suggestion was to hark down to the local Viet pork butchers and have a wee chat.