It’s taken some time (& some resistance), but finally- I have decided to cook and write a post on something that has MEAT in it. All you meat eaters out there, this won’t be happening all the time, so don’t get TOO used to it. I am a vegetarian, and I sometimes will eat seafood depending on where I am, what’s available and how I am feeling. I have a feeling this may be changing at some point however. I just recently watched the documentary “Veg-u-cated”, and it reminded me of a lot of things that started to go behind the scenes in my conscience.
As a vegetarian- I get asked a lot of the same questions. One of the most popular and obvious questions is: “Why are you a vegetarian, health or environmental?” My answer has always been along the lines of this: my choice to be a vegetarian is very layered, however the main reason did not begin from an environmental reason. Although has always been a huge perk to know that I am adding to the movement of saving the planet and nature, it was never my driving reason.
For me, before I became a vegetarian I really had a hard time recovering from my eating disorder and being healthy. I had a very unstable relationship with food and myself and was very lost in what to eat and how to feel towards food. It was a very natural transition towards eating mainly plant foods. Watching “vegecuated” though, I am reminded of the ways that animals are treated and it really drives the point home. More so, when it comes to the food industry and animal cruelty- sometimes we really forget about and neglect seafood and marine life. Although I rarely eat seafood, I still will if it’s available or I’m in a really great seafood restaurant! So, why is it different? It shouldn’t be. This is really what I’m starting to come to. I do love seafood- but I’m hearing more and more about how the ocean’s Eco-habitat is severely depleted and toxicity is increasing in seafood. These are things we can only ignore for a short time- before the effects start to show up in our lives. After all, we are all a part of this planet, we are all living and therefore we are all connected.
I’ve mentioned it before- but I don’t like to “cookie-cut” my eating lifestyle or label myself. I mean, I did just say that I am a vegetarian. This is more to communicate information quickly, and to speak a global language. What I mean by, ‘I don’t like to label myself’, is more about creating restrictions on myself or applying a negative connotation and feeling towards food and eating. I learnt at quite a young age how powerful thoughts can be. I started dieting when I was pretty young, and ended up being so unhealthy that I developed eating disorders and depression- which lasted for several years.
As a result, I am quite the advocate and front-runner when it comes to positive thinking and positive relationships with food. We have been taught to be afraid of food- and use food as a coping mechanism for emotional voids and avoiding pain. This type of relationship with food is so common now a days.
So, my journey is about encouraging change. Inspiring a movement towards loving yourself. I found, firsthand, that this movement can and will begin with loving food again, and really acquainting yourself with food from its creation (the seed, where and how its grown & produced, how it’s transported and where you buy it from) to the moment it hits your lips. Much like relationships with people can be damaging, painful & negative- relationships with food can be too. It’s all about changing the way that you look at food in your life and the way that food relates to you and your body.
Thus, I am not against people who eat meat. If meat is something that you feel that your body needs, then go for it! I do like to recommend that you are maintain awareness with your meat consumption. Depending on who you are and what your health is like- meat may or may not be helping you. Sourcing your meat and knowing where it comes from and how it’s been treated is definitely very important when it comes to meat. Do you need meat to survive? Absolutely not. However, I am realistically aware that the world is not going to completely convert to being a vegan (eating, consuming, using any animal product) overnight. That is an unrealistic wish. It all comes down to the same thing– compassion. If you can practice being compassionate and grateful for your food, your life and the earth- then you will be more in touch with your body and the planet. From this, you will figure out & create your own journey, which may or may not include meat consumption. I’m never going to tell someone to stop eating meat or that they are “bad” for eating meat. I will only encourage to live through compassion and love- towards each other, animals, the planet and its resources and most of all, towards yourself.
This dish contains all organic products, and the meat is from vegetarian, free range organic chickens. I encourage you to try this out- go and meet your local farmer! This will not only make the dish tastier but it will also vibrate loving energy- from the preparation of the dish, to the taste, to the effect (short term and long term) that it has on your body and your health!
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (organic, ethically raised)
- 1/2 cup tandoori chicken marinade
- 2-3 tbsp organic butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 2/ tablespoons grated ginger root
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin powder
- 3/4 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 3/4 tbsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 organic plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoon almond butter
- *optional: 1 cup brown rice, wild rice, black rice or naan bread
- Poke raw chicken thighs in several places with a fork. Place chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag. Add Tandoori marinade to bag along with respective yogurt (the marinade I used called for 1/2 cup yogurt).
- Turn bag several times to coat chicken with marinade. Marinate chicken in refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours or overnight (if you are pressed for time, a few hours is fine- the longer it marinates the more depth of flavour you will get)
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place chicken thighs in a single layer on a baking sheet bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Optional: add sliver of butter on top of thighs for juicy meat.
- Once butter chicken sauce is cooked- cut the cooked chicken into bite size pieces and add to the sauce
- While the chicken is baking, make your sauce.
- Melt butter in a large pot or pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes)
- Add gingerroot, chili powder, turmeric, ground coriander, cinnamon and cumin. Cook 1 more minute (allow the spices to sweat, you will be able to start smelling the fragrant smell of Indian spiced-cooking)!
- Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Depending on what blender you use there are two techniques for the next step:
- Hand blender: blend the sauce so that you have a smooth consistency but still have some chunks.
- Blender: Transfer half the sauce to a blender and purée until smooth. Return puréed sauce to pot with remaining sauce.
- Mix the sauce and return it to the heat. Stir in the plain yogurt, cilantro and almond butter.
- Add the cut-up chicken pieces, and stir. Cook just until the chicken is hot.
- Serve the butter chicken with basmati rice, naan bread, or a salad!
This recipe is adapted from Food Networks’ recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/the-better-butter-chicken/recipe.html?dishid=8423