Austinites are inherently busy people, and we often forget the value of the food we eat. We use food as a means to accomplish all of our goals for the day. However, the food we eat is more than than that. It is culture, it is made intentionally, and it connects us to our roots. This series aims to explore the lives of students at the University of Texas at Austin, the food they make, and how it ties them to their cultures, homes and families.
Story by Julia O’Hanlon
Illustrations by Ella Williams
Ari Hayaud-Din is a political communication third year at UT who loves politics, cooking and connecting with her cultural heritage. When you walk into her apartment, you are hit with the aromatic smell of spices and heat. She is making butter chicken, a recipe she taught herself (with the help of a Shan packet) to feel more connected to her roots. Hayaud-Din is Pakistani and Italian, which are both strong influences in her life and the food she makes is a direct expression of this culture. “Food is such a shared cultural experience, and enjoying it with the people I love is so meaningful to me,” Hayaud-Din says. “My Bibi has always worked to maintain our culture and our Pakistani heritage in our family, and this the little way that I can be a part of that.” Watch below to see Hayaud-Din cook this beloved dish and talk about what her heritage means to her.
Pakistani Butter Chicken
This tomato based, mildly spiced sauce is full of flavor and coats pieces of delicious chicken breast. Best served with your favorite rice and naan.
Cook time: 1 hour (30 mins prep, 30 minutes cooking), 4-6 servings
2 lbs of chicken breast
2 cups of tomato puree
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
3 tablespoons of plain yogurt (Dannon recommended)
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of butter
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
Shan Butter Chicken Mix
2 cups of white rice
Cut chicken into bite-sized cubes.
In a small bowl, mix Shan Butter Chicken Mix, lemon juice, yogurt and oil to make marinade.
Marinate chicken for 24 hours.
Heat cooking oil of choice in a frying pan to medium-low heat and add the marinated chicken to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Add tomato puree to pan. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Add butter and cook for five minutes.
Add cream. Stir until butter and cream are incorporated and remove pan from heat.
Cook two cups of white rice according to package to serve with butter chicken.
Serve and enjoy with loved friends!
Optional: If the sauce is too spicy for your taste, add yogurt to cut the heat. Can also serve with naan.