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Indian Butter Chicken November 9, 2019

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Indian Dishes.
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Indian Butter Chicken

Some of the world’s great cuisines are in Asia – Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Indian.  Most of use spend too little time on these great cooking traditions.  In some cases, we have trouble finding and understanding the ingredients, but mostly we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone.  A good way to start experimenting with Asian cuisines is to try an easy to make classic that is not too dissimilar to American or European dishes.  Indian Butter Chicken is a perfect candidate – not too spicy with tomatoes and chicken as the main ingredients.

This recipe will introduce you to two of my favorite ingredients in Indian cooking.  The first is Garam Masala, which, like curry powder is a mixture of spices.  Garam Masala contains nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin and black pepper.  Notice that there is nothing spicy or hot in the mix.  It gives a slightly sweet tone to a dish.  I think that it is hard to use too much.  Garam Masala is available at almost any supermarket or on-line at Penzey’s (maybe the best source of spices.)

The second ingredient is garlic ginger paste.  This is a key element of this dish and you should make your own since it is sometimes hard to find.  If you can peel ginger and garlic and have a food processor or blender, it is easy to make.  The instructions below will produce more than you need, but you can freeze the extra amount, since you will, I assure you, make more Butter Chicken.

Making Ginger-Garlic Paste

The ingredients are simple: 4 oz. peeled garlic, 4 oz. fresh ginger and olive oil.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale, 4 oz. is about ½ cup.  However, get a hold of yourself and get a scale if you don’t have one.  I suggest the Eat Smart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale – under $20 on Amazon.

Break the ginger apart into manageable pieces and use a vegetable peeler to remove the outside skin and any fibrous parts.  Peel the garlic cloves. 

Roughly chop the garlic and ginger and put into a food processor.  Turn on and slowly add olive oil through the top until you get a thick paste.  Finish at high speed to blend thoroughly.  Store in a freezer safe container

Servings: 12

Time:  1 hr. Prep

            1 hr. Cooking


For the Chicken:

  • 3 lbs. chicken breast or thighs – cut into ½ in. cubes.  (Hint: partially frozen makes the chicken easier to cut into cubes.)
  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper


  1. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the oil and garam masala over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the salt and pepper to the chicken and stir well. 
  3. Add the cubed chicken to the frying pan, stir well to coat and brown for about 7-8 minutes until chicken is golden brown.
  4. Turn heat off and leave chicken to rest

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1-1/2 cups shallots – finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups onion – finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 28 oz. can of peeled tomatoes (Italian San Marzano are the best)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ chopped cilantro or parsley


  1.  Pour the tomatoes with the juice into a china cap or other strainer and puree the tomatoes, forcing them through the strainer with a wooden pestle or the back of a large spoon.  This should produce 3 cups of puree.
  2. In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat the peanut oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and onion and sauté until softened.  
  3. Add the lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, pepper and bay leaves.  Stir well and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato puree, yogurt and half-and-half.  Stir well.  Reduce heat and gently simmer uncovered for 15 minutes stirring frequently.
  5. Mix the cornstarch and water, add to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with jasmine or basmati rice; garnish with parsley or cilantro. 

The final result should be a thick sauce.  If too thin, gently simmer for additional time. 

Serve with naan, if desired.  This is very typical.  Check the Bravado website for a great naan recipe – easy to make at home.  Some add cayenne pepper to this dish, but I like it better without the heat.  However, if you feel the need, add one-half tsp. of cayenne, but no more. 

This dish is almost a meal in itself, but it also goes well with any green vegetables like green beans or broccoli.  There are many wonderful Indian vegetable dishes but maybe we should not worry about that now.  Let this be your first baby step into the world of Asian cuisine.

Blini with Caviar June 29, 2019

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Appetizers, Classic Eastern European Dishes, Diary of a Wandering Foodie.
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Blini with Caviar

We recently went to a friend’s house to have cocktails on his terrace overlooking a small lake. We were surprised to find champagne, ice cold vodka and homemade blini with caviar. Blini, which is the plural of blin, are small, rich pancakes similar to French crépes. We decided to try to repeat the experience when some special friends came over for drinks this week, and it was a real hit.


Latvian Piragi February 8, 2019

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Appetizers, Classic Eastern European Dishes, Diary of a Wandering Foodie.
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Most cuisines have dishes which encase meat and/or vegetables in a dough made of wheat or rice.  Many Latin American countries have “empanadas” and the English-speaking Caribbean has curry spiced “roti”.  The British have their “pasties”, the French have their “crepes” and the Chinese have their “dumplings”.  I am probably missing a lot more. 


Coconut Cake June 10, 2018

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Desserts.
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Cocomut Cake


This recipe comes from a good friend, Priscilla Nei.   I am not sure where she got it, but it is really great.  As you can see below, the condensed milk and coconut cream are “infused” into the cake.  This makes the final product incredibly moist.  Whenever I make this cake, people literally fight over the last pieces.

I wish I could say that this is a really healthy creation, but I think “indulgent” is a better word. After calculating the total calories of one whole cake and dividing that by 16 slices,  I decided that it is not prudent to communicate the numbers to my readers.  Best that you try this great recipe and see if you even care about calories. (more…)

KISS Ribs June 3, 2018

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic American Dishes, Classic Grilling Recipes.
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Summertime is upon us – women look better, beer tastes colder and, for some reason, we’re drawn like a magnet to the outside grill. In past posts, we’ve talked about some great grilling ideas, such as

  • Argentinean flank steak
  • Six-Pack Chicken
  • Smoked Brisket
  • Tacos de Carne Asada (Grilled Beef Tacos)

This summer, let’s talk about ribs on the grill.  They are inexpensive, healthier than you think, and easy to prepare, especially with our KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) recipe.


Rice Pilaf -You’ll go nuts for this ancient dish August 10, 2017

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Middle Eastern Dishes.
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 Before we start today, we need to have a talk. I know that some of you are reading these great articles, but you are not actually trying some of the fantastic recipes.  This has got to stop.  Go no further unless you are committed to cooking rather than just reading.  I say this because the recipe that I am going to share with you today is so good that it will bring tears to your eyes.

If you’re Greek, Armenian, Turkish, Iranian, Afghani or Azerbaijani, you already know about this great dish – it is part of your national tradition.  If you’re Brazilian or Spanish, you eat versions like Pilau and Paella.  Most of you have had it in restaurants, but you have probably not paid attention.  This magical dish that we are going to talk about today is Rice Pilaf.  Forget the little boxes that you can buy in the store.  Make Rice Pilaf from scratch at home and it will be like the day you first tried garage door opener, or something. (more…)

Homemade Corned Beef Hash May 23, 2017

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic American Dishes.
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1 comment so far
Corned Beef Hash

If you want something special for breakfast, this is the dish.  I have always loved corned beef hash, even the canned varieties.  Recently, while staying at the Greenbriar Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, I had their famous homemade corned beef hash with two poached eggs on top.  It was outrageously good and I became committed to reproduce the dish at home.  While I won’t claim to have surpassed the Greenbriar, I think you will find this recipe very good.


Hangtown Fries April 28, 2017

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic American Dishes, Diary of a Wandering Foodie.
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Hangtown Fries served with Homemade Corned Beef Hash

A friend of mine, who also happens to be a Federal Judge, invited me to breakfast last week and served Hangtown Fries.  This exceptional dish is basically bacon, eggs and fried oysters, and it has a very interesting history. (more…)

The Green Smoothie Movement November 25, 2016

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic American Dishes.

There are lot of things that confuse me – reality TV, presidential elections, why I always stuff myself at Thanksgiving, to mention a few. But now there is something new – Green Smoothies, and my daughter tells me it is very, very important that I start consuming these concoctions.  Change is sometimes so overwhelming. It reminds me of the famous line from the Marvin Gaye songbook; “Mercy, mercy me, things ain’t what they used to be”.


Scones – We’ve Done Some Great Things with the British Classic October 18, 2016

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic British Dishes.
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Scones - Sweet with Chocolate and Cranberries

Scones with Chocolate Chips and Cranberries

A friend suggested an article on scones.  She was thinking colder weather, the warm and cozy feeling of something baking in the oven, maybe something nice and hot to drink.  Whatever.

Strangely, my thoughts drifted back to my high school days and what would have happened if I told my buddies that I wanted a scone.  There would have been pushing and shoving.  I would have been the endless butt of jokes for days, with pinkies sticking out in the air as if holding some imaginary cup of tea.  I can hear them asking, oh so sweetly, if I wanted some clotted cream or maybe some petit fours. (more…)

Tacos de Carne Asada August 23, 2016

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Mexican Dishes.
1 comment so far

One afternoon, I was walking through the park in my local community and I  saw a group of Latinos enjoying themselves around their grill.  I shouted across the way, “How about a double cheeseburger?”.  They shook their heads and wagged fingers in the air to indicate that there were no cheeseburgers involved.  However, they motioned me to come over.  I lived in Chile for three years and love to speak Spanish, so I joined them.


Classic Tiramisu May 25, 2016

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Italian Dishes.
1 comment so far


Tiramisu is the all-time most classic dessert recipe in the Italian lectionary.  You will find it on 75% of the menus in Italian restaurants.  There is a good reason for all of this – it is really good and actually fairly easy to make.

Origin and history:

Unlike many Italian dishes, tiramisu is relatively new on the scene.  It was “invented” in a famous restaurant in Treviso called Le Beccherie in 1969.  The restaurant is still there (2016).  Treviso is about 50km. north of Venice.

The dessert starts with zabaglione (or sabayon as they say in France).  This mixture of egg yolks and sugar is the beginning of many Italian desserts; so, if you learn to make tiramisu, you will be ready to prepare a whole range of luscious treats.  The zabaglione is poured over Lady Fingers, which are crunchy sweet biscuits shaped like a finger.   They are very absorbent and are quickly soaked in expresso or coffee along with some liqueur or rum before adding the zabaglione. (more…)

Granola – An American Classic May 18, 2016

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic American Dishes.
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2016-05-15 11.39.33

Maybe the Europeans might claim title to the inventors of granola.  They have something called Muesli in Switzerland.  However, in my mind granola is a truly American classic.  Invented in California in the 60’s by hippies and Seventh Day Adventists, it has grown non-stop ever since.  Rolling Stone has the full history on-line at:  a-social-history-of-granola

The exciting thing about granola is that it is soooo easy to make at home.  Once you try it, you will probably never get the store bought stuff again.


Fudge – An American Classic December 3, 2015

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic American Dishes.

With the Holiday Season quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking of all the sweet things we can make. Here is a great one –  fudge using three different types of chocolate, two of which are dark.  It’s wonderful and creamy and, most importantly, justifiable. Ah yes, we all know that dark chocolate is very good for you – micronutrients and antioxidants and such (check out fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.html.)


The Best Hummus Ever November 14, 2015

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Appetizers.
1 comment so far

Hummus with parsley and cumin

Hummus with parsley and cumin

Hummus has become ubiquitous in the U.S. in recent years. However, you have never tasted a hummus as good as this one. It has one special ingredient – cumin – that makes all the difference. (more…)


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