Butter chicken is simple to make and commonly liked, even by those who don’t normally like Indian food. This version of butter chicken uses essential oils to achieve the exotic flavor of the dish. We used a pressure cooker (Instant Pot®) for this recipe, but you could let it simmer on the stove with similar results.
2 lbs. (1 kg) boneless chicken thighs (see substitution note below)
1/2 cup (100 g) coconut oil or butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk or heavy cream
2 drops cumin essential oil
1–2 drops coriander essential oil
1 drop cardamom essential oil
1 drop cassia essential oil
1 drop clove essential oil
1 drop black pepper essential oil
1 drop ginger essential oil
1/4–1/2 cup (15–30 g) fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
Place all the initial ingredients into the pressure cooker. Mix the sauce well, and then place the chicken on top of the sauce.
Seal the pressure cooker, and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before quickly releasing the remaining pressure.
Remove the chicken, and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Using an immersion blender (or regular blender with care—the liquid is really hot!), blend up the sauce.
Allow the sauce to cool a little before adding the butter, coconut milk, cilantro or parsley, nutmeg, and essential oils. If you add these items while the sauce is too hot, it will be a thin sauce. Just place it in the fridge for a little bit to help it thicken.
Cut the chicken into chunks before adding back into the sauce.
Serve over rice or zucchini noodles or with a side of naan.
You can substitute some or all the chicken with tofu, steamed vegetables, or shrimp. Just add 1/4 cup (60 ml) water to the sauce before cooking, then add the substituted ingredients after cooking and heat until warm or cooked through.
You can use frozen chicken. Just push it into the sauce before cooking and add 1–2 minutes to the cook time.
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 small can of green chiles)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. (450 g) organic, grass-fed ground beef
1 (14.5 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14.5 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained (or substitute with 5–6 large fresh tomatoes, skinned and diced)
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) tomato paste
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) dark brown sugar or honey (add a little more sugar if using fresh tomatoes)
2 tsp. (5 g) unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
2 Tbsp. (16 g) chili powder
2 tsp. (4.5 g) paprika
1/2 tsp. (2.5 g) kosher salt, or to taste
2 cups (480 ml) beef broth
2–3 drops cumin essential oil
1 drop black pepper essential oil
1 drop coriander essential oil
Heat olive oil in a pan (or pressure cooker), and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño pepper (or green chiles) for 3–4 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, and sauté for an additional 10 seconds. Transfer onion/pepper mixture to a bowl.
Place the ground beef in the pan (or pressure cooker), and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef has browned. Drain fat if desired.
In a stock pot, pressure cooker, or slow cooker, place the onion/pepper mixture, ground beef, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar (or honey), cocoa powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, and beef broth; cook* until flavors are combined.
Top chili with desired toppings. Serve with rosemary cornbread or baked potatoes.
Stovetop (in stock pot): Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
Pressure Cooker: Cook on high pressure for 8–10 minutes, then release pressure naturally.
Slow Cooker: Cook on high for 1–2 hours or low for 4–6 hours.
Cornbread is the perfect pairing with chili. Place little bits of cornbread in the bowl to scoop up with some chili, or mix up a little honey butter and spread it on the cornbread for a delicious side dish.
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk (or 1 1/2 cup milk + 1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice)
1–2 drops rosemary essential oil
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place butter in an 8″ (20 cm) baking dish (or standard bread pan), and put in the oven so the butter will melt.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, stir together 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) milk and 1 1/2 Tbsp. (23 ml) white vinegar or lemon juice. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs, and lightly beat. Then add the buttermilk and essential oil. Whisk together until combined.
Remove the baking dish from the oven, and rotate the pan to coat the sides in the melted butter.
Pour the wet ingredients and melted butter into the dry ingredients, and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy).
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and bake for 20–25 minutes (30 minutes in a standard bread pan) or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cornbread comes out clean.
Remove the cornbread from the oven, and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Essential oils can add a lot of flavor to cooking, but sometimes even a drop is too much for the dish. These spice mixes are an easy way to add a hint of additional flavor to your cooking with the help of essential oils! You may even enjoy adding a little to your plate if you like to salt your food.
One important thing to remember when using these spices—use them like you would salt. If you want more of the essential oil flavor, add more oils to the salt mixture, or add a toothpick or a drop of essential oil to the dish after cooking it.
Another tip: Make sure to use a slightly coarse salt (kosher salt and Himalayan sea salt are recommended). Do not use table salt—it will make these taste too salty. Also avoid the really coarse salt if you plan on adding more to your dish just before eating (unless you happen to like biting into large chunks of salt full of essential oil flavor . . . which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
With Father’s Day just around the corner, try making these as a gift for the man who loves to cook! Continue reading →
Are you ready for a new flavor of hummus? Try out our falafel hummus dip! We accidentally discovered this dip when we were coming up with our recipe for baked falafel. If you love hummus, you need to give this recipe a try!
This Middle Eastern dish tastes fantastic with the addition of essential oils! Falafel is normally deep fried, but you can also pan fry it or even bake it as a healthier alternative. Falafel can be eaten plain, with Lemon Tahini Sauce (see recipe below), on a salad, or in a pita with tomatoes and cucumbers.