(Inspired by Gori — I changed it up as needed to fit my palate)
This recipe of butter chicken will, put simply, knock your socks off. Its simple blend of spices in the mild salan (curry/sauce) and tender chicken pieces make clear why it’s on almost every South Asian restaurant’s menu. And the best part? You won’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to enjoy the restaurant-style yet traditional flavors of the classic dish. So let’s dig in~
The first step is marinating the chicken. Take 1 kilogram (around 2lbs) of boneless chicken pieces.
Honestly, it doesn’t even matter what part of the chicken the pieces are from. You can do solely breasts or thighs or whatever– all that matter’s is that they’re boneless and bitesized. I just took an entire chicken and removed the meat from the bones.
To that, add 1 tablespoon of ginger/garlic paste.
And a cup of plain, whisked yogurt. Make sure it’s thin and runny so you can pour it in.
Now for the best part: spices. The medley consists of 2 tablespoons of red chili powder (1 teaspoon if you can’t do spicy), 2 tablespoons of tandoori masala (see below what I used), 2 teaspoons of cumin power, and 1 teaspoon of turmeric.
Add in 4 tablespoons of lemon juice..
…2 tablespoons of some kind of tomato sauce. It can be puree, paste, or even ketchup like I used…
…and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. I recommend canola or vegetable oil (try to stay away from olive oil, it’ll add a flavor we’re not going for).
Now mix everything together really, really well. Ensure everything is well-distributed and try to resist the temptation to lick your spoon (please don’t unless you crave salmonella). Cover with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for an hour so everything soaks in.
In the meantime, brew up the sauce! Heat 4 tablespoons of oil and 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan (I used a wok) on medium-high heat.
A blend of spices needs to be added here as well. 2 teaspoons of whole cumin, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 4 small pieces (not sticks!!) of cinnamon, and 4 green cardamom. Add ’em to the mix, and fry till frothy (around 1 minute).
Now add 2 large, chopped onions. It doesn’t matter how neat they’re chopped as we’ll blend everything together later.
Fry them until light golden and tender.
Now add 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, 2 tablespoons of kasuri methi (dry fenugreek) and some green chillies (none for mild, 1-2 for medium, and 3 for spicy).
Fry until you can smell the garlic-y aroma, around 3-4 minutes.
Now add in some tomato sauce. I removed the peel of 7 small (roma) tomatoes and pureed them. I also added 4 tablespoons of tomato puree (canned) for good measure.
Cook this for 5 minutes. The mixture should be bubbling throughout.
Remove from heat, and let cool completely. We will blend this sauce to a fine paste. Make sure to remove the cinnamon pieces and cardamoms as well! Otherwise their flavors will completely overpower the sauce.
Remember that chicken placed in the fridge around an hour ago? Time’s come to retrieve it. On medium-high heat, heat around a tablespoon of oil and fry all the chicken until cooked through. Even though I’ll cook this even more with the sauce later on, I’m just paranoid about raw meat. I like it super tender, anyway, so it’s a win-win!
Put in all of the marinade as well.
Now that the sauce has cooled, put it into a blender and puree the heck out of it. We’re aiming for a fine paste.
Once blended nice and smooth, put back into its original heated wok (medium-high heat).
Cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the chicken in all of its flavorful goodness. Don’t leave out a drop of marinade!
Add a cup of water…
…and mix well. Cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes, until everything has incorporated beautifully.
Your butter chicken is ready and your tastebuds can’t hold in their excitement any longer. Sprinkle with some fresh coriander and garam masala if you’re feeling it. Be sure to dig in with naan, roti, or plain basmati rice~