With the autumnal weather rolling in, I get really excited about warm flavorful food. Thus, this bento is a testament to some of my latest tried and true favorite dishes! To the left is homemade chicken tikka masala with arugula, wrapped in paleo naan. My mom found this recipe for the masala sometime last year and it has now become somewhat of a family recipe. She knows how to make it, I know how to make it, and my 15-year-old sister knows how to make it, so much so that she goes over to her friends’ houses and makes it for them! It calls for ghee and heavy cream– delicious fats that help it develop the perfect textures, flavors, and aromatics of what I would order at a restaurant. Instead of a small portion of leftovers eagerly gobbled up the next morning, it makes enough that we eat it for most of the week. I’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe by adding a little more turmeric to help it get that nuclear orange color since turmeric doesn’t alter flavor very much. I highly encourage using boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, as well. I now always make sure to have the spices it calls for in my pantry so I only need to buy one container of heavy cream and a can of tomato sauce to just make it on a whim.
The paleo naan comes from a My Heart Beets recipe and is made with almond flour, tapioca flour, and full fat coconut milk. You make the batter and cook it on the stove like a pancake. I can usually get about four decently sized naan out of one batch. It’s great for a gluten-free accompaniment to curry that isn’t rice.
To the right is some homemade applesauce that I am very proud of. I looked at Alton Brown’s recipe for applesauce and loved all the ingredients in it, but, as I may have mentioned before, I get wigged out over microwaving anything for more than 5 minutes out of sheer terror that I will set my kitchen ablaze. So I looked up stove-top recipes for applesauce and combined the two ideas with some adjustments.
“You put butter in your applesauce?!”
“Yeah…why not? It’s delicious!”
6-8 Fairly sizable apples (I’ve used Fuji, Honeycrisp, Sweetango, etc. I buy random bags of apples. Use up what you have)
3 tbsp of brandy
2 tbsp cultured butter
1 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Slice up all the apples and throw them in a big pot. You don’t have to peel them unless that is what you prefer. Add all the ingredients together, put the lid on, and bring to a boil. Bring the heat down and simmer for about 30 minutes until all the slices are tender. Then get out your trusty immersion blender (or potato masher) and blitz (or smush) the whole pot until it is all creamy. Consume with fervor.