Lately I’ve been feeling very nostalgic, especially about traveling to India. I don’t know, for some reason that particular trip kept coming up and I’ve been on many trips but not like this one. I back packed in New Delhi, India with my family for 9 days year ago. Quite the experience with Gypsies, getting sick, The Taj Mahal (amazing omg) and the fried chicken. Best fried chicken ever by far because it wasn’t meat from America im assuming (eyeroll).
But anywho, I ended up coming across butter chicken sauce at our new Aldi. Butter chicken was something we were always served while traveling in India and it’s so freaking good. I knew for sure it wouldn’t taste anywhere near authentic but I couldn’t pass it up. I also knew I could work with a little more and create a platter on a budget and I’ll show you how. 😀
This was what I was working with to create this platter. I would recommend using Jasmine rice or whichever you prefer. I call it “Inspired” because this is in no way authentic and I have no idea how to make Indian food. I was just cooking and missing India lol.
The Veggie Meatballs are from Dollar Tree believe it or not. I know people are skeptical about eating from there but it’s really not that deep y’all -_- like it’s not lol. Most of the Dollar Tree brands are the same brands at your local supermarket in smaller portions OR it’s the same as your favorite brand but it’s sold and rebranded to Dollar Tree. It’s a whole thing I found out about but I won’t get into it here. I don’t do a full food shopping spree (although you can…kinda) I just get what I know or what I feel can be safe.
Veggie Meatballs are made from veggies so I grabbed it to try it. I don’t even know why I looked because I really don’t go out of my way to the fridge section often but I wanted to try it. It’s supposed to be Indian inspired. Once we tried it (we baked it in the oven on a tray at 350 degrees for 20 mins or so) and let it brown in the oven before eating it, we lost our minds at how good it was! It was filling too and spicy kick. I made it again and didn’t “overcook” it and it was gross lol. I guess you get what you pay for but we know how to make it now. I went back and bought 3 more boxes and had them chilling in the freezer.
Start with the Veggie Meatballs. I added them to a baking tray at 350 degrees until it was golden and formed a nice crust. Let them bake in the oven while you begin making the chicken.
Hear the sizzling? 😉 Don’t panic though, that is sunflower seed & avocado oil. I kinda went a little crazy and if you have read my other posts, you know I don’t use measuring cups lol. I added the oil because I read ingredients that said to do so but if you get this sauce, you won’t need to. It came kinda oily and I found out the hard way ( did a lot of scooping and dumping oil that day lol) but it was fun to make this all. I then began making the parboil rice. I took a tablespoon of the broth and onions from the pan and added it to the rice when it was almost finished. I’d recommend Jasmine rice or something else but I just used what I had. Nothing wrong with that. 🙂
After adding the oil, I added diced onions and let it brown. Then the chicken was added until browned. I then added a pinch of garlic powder and black pepper. I would’ve diced fresh garlic like I usually do but I ran out. I was doing this on a whim kinda and I wanted to try it on a budget.
Once they were both browned and smelling up the whole place 😉 I added about a cup of water and let it simmer for a few minutes with a lid. Then the butter chicken sauce was added to simmer. I only used half of the bottle because the pan still had the mixture with water in it. Good thing too because this sauce seemed condensed.
I wanted the chicken to kind of soak in the sauce a bit so I began warming up the Garlic Naan in the microwave on a plate for 45 seconds just to get it warm. Do this RIGHT before serving. In India, I had to have Naan with every meal. They served it with every meal for us too so it worked out 😀 I loved it so much I couldn’t pass up purchasing it at Aldi’s even though I knew it would taste no where near to the real thing. They were about $4 total which I feel was a bit pricey since they were expiring in such a week from the expiration date but usually they are cheap there.
The other fun part is setting up the platter. I wish I had more to add but I was starving too and in a rush. It was all smelling so good I didn’t want to wait any longer lol. I added the finished rice to a wooden bowl with a wooden spoon.
The butter chicken and Veggie Meatballs as you can tell were added to glass bowls. I wasn’t making this once fancy I just wanted to see the colors lol. To be honest, this is not how I remembered the sauce tasting. This tasted more tomato-ish (yes, I made that up) than it needed to be? I’m not sure, I’m no expert but it didn’t take me back to New Delhi lol. Thats okay though because overall it reminded me of the trip and it was still so good.
We used plates to serve ourselves while watching TV. We scooped the rice and butter chicken onto a piece of naan and ate it. Joe really liked it which is a plus because even though he likes to try new foods, he prefers the simple classics. In total it took me about 45 minutes to make this meal and that was with me stopping in between. We even had left-overs so I was able to meal prep it for the next day. The glass bowls are meal prep bowls with lids (Dollar Tree) so it was easy to put away.
It’s good to switch things up in the kitchen. I wanted to cook something different and even though it was a spur of the moment kind of thing and I didn’t get a full authentic meal out of it, I got to talk about our trip to India with Joe and reminisce over bomb a** food (delicious) and I’m grateful for that. I will be making this again but I want to try maybe making meals from other countries. It’s hard finding particular things here so I’ll have to work with what I can but why not?
Are there any cultural dishes you fell in love with after trying it the first time? Have you tried to make any cultural meals you don’t eat on the daily basis? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
Thank you so much for reading.